As pastors, one of the hardest decisions our team ever had to make in 20 years of ministry was canceling our “normal” Sunday morning service during this COVID-19 virus. On one hand, my faith told me “God will protect us. Do not forsake meeting together.” On the other hand, wisdom told me to “honor our authorities and keep people safe and share the service online for people to view.” I don’t even have time in this blog to begin to tell you all the reasons this decision was so difficult. However, God was with me and our pastoral team as we submitted to His leading.
God reminded me of something I have preached for a long time – “The church is more than the four walls of a building.” You and I together are The Church! Together we are the body of Christ and we have the Spirit of God who lives in us. His reminder made our decision to cancel “normal” Sunday services so much easier. This could be our greatest time to truly be The Church and share our faith with others.
If you are like me and are really missing your routine and your Sunday Morning Experience then please allow me to encourage you with some ideas on how you can make the most of this time and truly BE THE CHURCH:
Eight ways to be The Church…even while you’re in quarantine:
- Build up your faith.
Do you remember in January, 2020 when everyone was sharing their scripture of the year? Ask the Lord to give you a scripture concerning the Coronavirus and then start to declare it. Don’t have one yet? Use mine: Hebrews 13:6 (NIV) “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
2. Amp up your prayer time.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”- Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
When I want to sit and worry, I decide to turn my worry into a trigger to pray instead. Friends, I encourage you to do the same. Take authority over your thoughts and submit them to God. Get out a prayer journal, make a “war room”, bust out the anointing oil and seriously go to town praying!
3. Use your social media platforms to encourage people.
People are desperate for some encouragement, so now is the time to use your social media to encourage people and point them to Jesus. Remind your friends and family through social media that God is still on the throne!
4. Have communion at home with your family.
You don’t have to receive communion only from a pastor during a church service. If you remember, The Last Supper in the Bible was in someone’s house and was after dinner. If you have bread and juice at home, pray over it, dedicate it to God, then take communion together with your family at home.
23 The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26 NIV)
5. Send out handwritten cards.
Take some time to write a few handwritten cards to friends and family, then mail them. Do you have the kids home with you? Get them involved, and have your children write cards to people in nursing homes. This would be especially encouraging since they are unable to receive visitors. Of course, give them a quick spray with Lysol before you send them out 😉
6. Go old school.
I know everyone is doing live videos on Facebook and other social media platforms and I love it, but why not go old school and make a phone call to someone the Lord puts on your heart and talk with them. I had a pastor friend and his wife call me up and it truly made my day. Also, let us not forget some of the elderly people in our lives who don’t know how to use all the social media platforms.
7. Spend God time with your family.
Take time to pray with each of your children and your spouse. Eat more family meals around the table and talk about your kids’ fears, goals, and what they feel God is speaking to them. If you are looking for a great Christian movie to watch during this time then I recommend the series “Chosen”.
8. Donate to your favorite charity.
If you don’t have a charity you typically support financially, please prayerfully consider Vision Kitchen. VK serves hundreds of low income families’ hot meals every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. During this quarantine we have transformed the dining room experience to a takeout experience. People are hungry and still need to eat. Our pastors and volunteers have been passing out an average of 100 “to go” meals per night. Right now we have plenty of main course meals, but can use canned, bottled, or boxed drinks and individually wrapped desserts. What a great time to let the kids help bake cookies, cupcakes or brownies (include measuring for a math lesson!), while showing them how to be The Church.
Donations can be dropped off at Vision Ministries, 1630 Broadway, Toledo, OH Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:00 p.m. Please use the Langdon St. door (behind the church). For financial donations – checks can be mailed to the address above, or you can donate on the website at www.vision.today.
Be encouraged friends – we are all in this together and being together is what the church is all about! Focus on God and take time to really lean into the heart of God during this unique and unprecedented season. Allow Him to show you how YOU can be The Quarantined Church. If you have more ideas of how The Church can shine during quarantine please share them with me in the comments below.
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14 NIV