There is nothing normal at this point. If you are like me, you wonder if everyone is overreacting and pray that this will all pass in a few days. Well, this is here to stay for a while and we must make immediate changes.
All of us are being inundated by information. As I write this blog, there are so many things I could share, but here are three important things we need to remember.
- Be Wise.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 (NIV)
These are serious times and we need God’s wisdom to do what is best. This is not a time to take unnecessary risks.
Two of our pastors may have contracted the disease. They are waiting to be tested and have put themselves in self-isolation. Be praying for them and others who are sick. One of them shared this concern in an email to us:
Pray for our people here that still do not get it. Many here believe it’s just up there in Seattle. I just saw pictures of some of our congregants doing social activities together. It makes me feel like a failure as their leader when they won’t heed the advice of their pastor. I am praying that we do not see this sweep through our congregation. The majority (even some of the younger) are susceptible to complications.
So what’s the bottom line? Not having a public worship service is the wisest and most loving decision you could make. Any one of us could be carrying the virus and most vulnerable to dying from this are senior adults and those who are sick. Social distancing is critical to keep the virus from spreading. Comply with our government’s guidelines. This is the time to limit our freedom for the good of others.
Also, be wise with your online presence. Make sure your website is updated and reflects the crises we are going through. I think it should be your goal for your church website to give access to everything one could get by attending church. Post your messages. Have a place for prayer requests. Share the calendar. Give announcements. Encourage continued giving to the church and benevolent fund. Here’s a link explaining online giving .
- Be Willing.
“Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders…Make the most of every opportunity.” Colossians 4:5 (Message)
Kindness is a bridge for the Kingdom. Actively look for opportunities to help others. A simple, “Are you okay? Is there anything we can do to help?” is non-threatening and caring. Pay special attention to the elderly and isolated people in your community. Many college students from other countries have no place to go. Befriend them.
Jim Le Shana, Superintendent of the NW Friends, reminds us that this is an opportune time to start a new, short term Caring Ministry! He gives this practical advice: “Consider recruiting someone at your church to help you contact those in your congregation who may be at high risk, especially those who live alone or are senior adults, to be sure that they are not ill and do not need help. Then, create a list of “low risk” volunteers who are healthy to do the shopping and essential errands for the high-risk folks that should stay home for their own safety. Match the volunteers with the High-Risk folks to follow up as needed.”
This is a time we can be salt and light in our community. We just need to be willing and then do something!
- Be Worshipful.
“…Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:3-4 (NIV)
God is bigger than any virus. We will get through this! God promises that He WILL work out everything for the good (Romans 8:28). I believe that.
I’m was reminded of Paul and Silas in jail. It was midnight when they “prayed, and sang praises unto God” (Acts 16:25). It was literally darkness all around them, things looked desperate, and it was then they prayed and praised God. We must do the same. God doesn’t want us to live in fear, but to trust him more.
Our obedient, worshipful response to the command, “Do not be afraid” will speak loudly to those around us about our faith and bear witness to the peace that passes all understanding.
BEFORE YOU GO
Most of my postings have been on our Pastor’s Facebook page. Pastors and Staff, I encourage you to be part of the ongoing help and interaction among The Pacific Conference of Churches. Thank you!
Here are links to help you with your online presence.
Getting started with online streaming
Example websites from our churches