Genesis 50:20 "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good"
We're currently standing smack dab in the middle of a global health pandemic. Whether you refer to the sickness as COVID-19, The Virus, The Beast, The Corona, or That Ole Rona, It's the talk of the town for now. You'll see it plastered on every news channel, painted across all your social media platforms, and your friends are probably sending you funny memes about it.
Businesses are closed down, schools are locked, and parents are running out of ideas to entertain their bored kids. My heart is hurting for the single parents that have to work and have no one to watch their kids. My prayers are with the healthcare workers that are selflessly working around the clock to do their duties.
Then There's The Church
In the midst of the chaos, the Church isn't exempt from any of the negative side effects. Pastors are faced with extremely tough decisions right now.
Decision #1 - Keep having service, God will protect us, This is what FAITH is for!
Decision #2 - Close the doors, keep the people safe, and pray God provides!
The sad part is that no matter what decision they make, people will always criticize their choices regardless. If they keep having service then 'they don't care about the people and they're money hungry'. If they close the doors then 'They don't have faith, why are they scared? I thought the church was always open?'. But the reality is it takes just as much faith either way.
Churches are organizations with big bills to pay just like the rest of us. When the doors have to be closed, unfortunately most people stop tithing/giving. I encourage the people of God during these times to give financially to their church home and pray earnestly for their pastors. Interestingly enough, the virus has created a technological opportunity.
Online Worship Experiences
I remember hearing old time preachers that were stuck in the old days and how they would rebuke the internet. They would preach that social media and the worldwide web are a tool of the devil and a scheme of the antichrist. Now we all know that the internet certainly CAN and DOES do harm and can be used for evil. But the internet can also be used for GOOD things and GOD things.
I read statistics that this past Sunday hundreds of thousands of salvation decisions were made during churches worldwide as they broadcasted their worship experience online. It was LITERALLY the biggest online attendance the world has ever seen for Sunday morning church! I know for a fact that the devil is scared and shaking in his boots about the future of churches getting their messages out across the Internet.
It's a beautiful sight to see houses of worship that are taking advantage of things like social media and live streaming. Pastors that had their fears and doubts about going online are now seeing and realizing the potential and reach of having an online presence. The message this is sending is absolutely beautiful.
The church building may be closed, but the church is still open
The body of Christ HAS and NEVER will be limited to walls or a building. The church is a MOVEMENT not a BUILDING. The way that the church is rising to this occasion is a wonderful sight. Local churches in our community activated their missions and outreach teams. Boxes filled with diapers and wipes are being sent out to single moms. Snack bags are being dispersed to hospital break rooms. Care kits are being given out to local nursing homes. It reminds me of the words of Jesus to Peter.
Matthew 16:18 "I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it"
We will not be shaken, we will not be scared, we will RISE.