Read, Share, Study, and Pray

This blog represents the thoughts of the author. While they may reflect the theological position of The Renewal Fellowship, they should not be seen as an official statement.

Churches from every nation and persuasion have responded quickly to the pandemic precautions.

It’s inspiring. It’s powerful.

It’s a witness to the truth that the church will never die. And it testifies to the dictum that the church is reformed and continues to do so.

Many churches which are doing things differently have been sharing their practices. Some are offering up helpful advice. There’s a lot of information out there.

Part of our mandate at Renewal Fellowship is to promote congregational health and encourage one another, especially in times of crisis. In that light, our newest web page – Response to COVID-19 – has been augmented to allow us to tell stories and share and hope.

We’ve grouped material into four subjects:

  • Worship: links to congregations which are livestreaming or using social media and the web to bring worship and Word to the world.
  • Minstry: ideas on how to reach people and interact in a time of social distancing and lockdown.
  • Help: we’re not all tech savvy, but just about anyone can learn.
  • Encouragement: you are not alone. We pray that this time will be used to move us closer to God.

On that note, I am blown away by a couple of things.

First, how quickly the church has responded. No gloomy and pessimistic Eeyore donkeys, only bouncy and energetic Tiggers who are eager to try new things. Overnight, pastors and church leaders have figured out how to livestream and record video. Web pages have been created. How-to videos have been produced. Online seminars have been organized with first-rate speakers, attracting dozens of ministers. (Applause to the Centre for Missional Leadership at St. Andrew’s Hall on this one.) And the PCC has put together webinars on everything from online technology to justice in a pandemic.

Second, the attitude behind it all.

“I’m feeling invigorated,” one Presbyterian minister told me this week.

This despite coming down with all the symptoms of coronavirus after attending a conference the week before, then passing it on to his wife.

“Unconfirmed, but no doubt in my mind that I had COVID. Luckily my immune system mastered it,” he said. “I think the fact that I was sick and then got better again was partly what invigorated and inspired me so.”

Amen.

He’s not alone in his unbridled enthusiasm for how God’s hands are working in all this.

None of us know how this is all going to turn out. Which is why it’s so important to take this opportunity to reconnect with the Creator. Hence the need for encouragement.

What lies beyond these pandemic days is anyone’s guess. But the longer it goes, the more likely the world will wake up to the need to reconnect to the One who allowed it to happen. Believers and congregations who are invigorated by all this will be the ones who are able to receive those who are looking for answers. And if we have embraced technology, we will be better able to communicate.

Of course, technology alone won’t revive the church. What’s needed are three things: God’s will, believers willing to submit to that, and a world that’s open to it.

It’s the third element that’s really lacking.

We’re facing a global economic recession, if not depression. Plus illness and death. This may be a divine wake-up call for a world which pays little attention to the One who created us and who determines our eternal destiny.

So read, share, study, and pray – as we watch for God’s hands to work through us.

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