Social distancing is now a household term. The CA government is recommending that we “stay at home” except for essential work and necessities. Churches everywhere are suspending their services or utilizing technology as a means of continuing communication with their members in this time of crisis.
So how do we serve the church without seeing the church? How can we as Christians can still function like the church in an era of social distancing, heavy regulations, and lack of person to person interaction. As Christians, this is also a theological issue. We must see this as an “essential work” of the Christian no matter the circumstance, and we can do so while being wise with our health and courteous to our neighbor.
Here are some things we can do:
1. Deliver Goods to Others. Due to the increase of panic buying, there are many who are without their normal everyday supplies. Calling/texting individuals, especially the elderly, and asking them if they are in need of anything is a great encouraging act to many saints of the church. Delivering it to them directly or helping with things in their home (with proper health precautions) can be an answered prayer for some. Bring someone a meal, bring kids some toys, or even bring them toilet paper if were able to buy any.
2. Communicate with Others. This is where technology can be an aid rather than a replacement. Send a text to members asking how they’re doing, write a letter, or call someone on the phone. A short 5 minute conversation may go a long way for them. Tools like Google Hangout or Facetime can add a more :personalized” touch to technology and can aid in book discussions, prayer, Bible reading, or accountability. Just because technology has its weaknesses does not mean we have to ignore its strengths in this season. There are ways we can draw closer to others even in this time of being away. Discipleship continues, people still struggle with sin, and we all need encouragement now. Communication can continue.
3. Pray for Others. Pray for the sick, for our leaders, and for those who are working. Pray for your pastors, your older members, and your young families. Pray for evangelistic opportunities, good time usage, and that many would be shaken awake from spiritual apathy. It’s also beneficial to designate time to pray for yourself and with others. If Sundays and prayer meetings are cancelled, coordinate with your members designated times/days to pray together in their respective homes.
4. Give to Others. This could be in the form of time, resources, and goods. But the giving of finances is what I have in mind. Some people are in need of financial help and the church members can aid its own people in this way. Giving as a practice also does not need to stop in our COVID-19 era. We do not need to be evil televangelist that sinfully solicit funds, but we must remember the ministry must still go on and the Gospel must be preached. Churches all over the world will experience a dip in their finances and some may even close down due to this. Exercise this spiritual discipline through snail mail or through the internet.
5. Share Resources with Others. Since you have more time now, why not read a book? This will only benefit you and others. Many good Christian resources are being made available online for reading (and for FREE). Read and share what you are learning with others. With the extra time that some of us have, it would be a waste not to use it to enrich our souls.
6. Be Intentional with Others. Do something for the church, anything! If we care only for ourselves and our family in this crisis and give no thought about the members of our own local church, then we truly have failed as the people of God. To not love the church, is to not love Christ (Matt 25:40; Acts 9:4), and many need such a love in this season of hurt. Whatever the type of service is, find a way to serve your church in this season. Be intentional, be thoughtful, be practical, be creative, and be sacrificial about your service, because that is what the church does.
What about you? How are you attempting to serve your local church in these days?
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