The world has just entered unprecedented times with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have not seen anything like this in our lifetime!
Thousands of people everywhere contracted the virus, some of whom became very sick, and many died. Flights are cancelled, borders are closed, and stock markets are tumbling. People are advised – and in some cases ordered – to stay indoors in self-isolation. Heartbreaking stories are being told of people who die alone in quarantine as their loved ones are not allowed to visit them in their last hour.
As the reality of this outbreak hits home, the hopelessness of humanity becomes visible: shoppers resort to frantic buying of whatever is available, and hospitals experience shortages of beds, medicine and equipment to effectively deal with emergencies. We are limited to meet in numbers of no more than 50 people in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus, which is bad news for businesses and the economy. We have no idea how long this will last, and what the outcome will be. The entire world came to a standstill!
Pastors are concerned about their churches, and rightly so. However, good teaching that strengthens the faith of the flock is now paying dividends. Pastors who preached nice sermons to please their audiences have reason to worry, but true shepherds who focused on the spiritual growth and well-being of their people have nothing to fear. The true church cannot be destroyed, or, as Jesus put it, the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The church has come through many onslaughts, both from without and within; mighty empires fought against it, our books and Bibles were destroyed, and martyrs were burned at the stake, but here we still are.
The church was born in perilous times, yet grew despite the dangers that they faced daily. Covid-19 doesn’t have what it takes to harm the church. It is in the DNA of the true church to adapt quickly and effectively to any change in circumstances, and to simply continue with its marching orders. If you have been exposed to our ministry for any length of time, you have enough Word in you to make it through every challenge that comes your way. Faith comes by your exposure to the Word! (Romans 10:17)
So, how do we go about all of this? A simple mindset adjustment will go a long way! Keep in mind that the church is not the building where you meet, but the fellowship of the twice born. You are the church, yet we are admonished to meet together regularly. Drifting away from the church may cause backsliding in the long run. We need each other, and we are our brother’s keeper.
Gatherings of up to ten people (or fifty in some cases) are allowed in most places, and that is enough to sustain the church. The early church met in homes – and so will the last church when freedoms are curtailed and persecution rises against us. Breaking up into small groups will have no adverse effect on the church.
Small groups are intimate, leading to greater accountability, which promotes strong faith and dedication among the faithful.
- Questions receive tailor-made answers in small groups.
- Tithes and offerings are brought to small group leaders and handed to the church leadership who will allocate funds according to the needs of the church. The church still needs to pay salaries, take care of the poor and overhead costs.
- Communion in a small group can be very meaningful.
- Unsaved neighbours and friends are more likely to come to your house than to your church.
Ministering to one another is easier when people meet in a small, familiar group.
- Church members check on each other by telephone, or on social media platforms.
- The local church will not lose its identity as it is still overseen by the pastor.
- While the world buckles under the weight of the many restrictions that we now face, the church sees a golden opportunity to thrive! Desperation, fear and hopelessness actually open people’s eyes to notice the hope that we have in Christ. So many are now isolated at home, giving them time to consider life in the fragile world that we live in.
- You can never go wrong by encouraging people. Hope is in short supply right now, but we have what the world is looking for. Be generous with the hope that is in you, and don’t get drawn into the pessimism that is out there.
- We have strong promises for times like these: know them, meditate on them, and trust the Lord to fulfill them to you. Overcomers are born in troubled times. Remember, faith only works when it is challenged – be a person of faith. If your house is built on the rock, this storm will not destroy it.
- If you are isolated at home, spend some of the extra time that you now have in the Word. There is so much bad news going around, but you can counter it by building your faith and renewing your mind to everlasting truths from God’s Word.
Be strong in the grace of God that is in Christ Jesus!
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:1,2