January 21, first confirmed case in the United States, January. 30, 2020: WHO declares global health emergency Feb. 29, 2020: 1st death reported in United States. March 13, 2020: Trump declares national emergency March 15, 2020: CDC warns against large gatherings. And since then, the way the church conducted its normal assembly was changed.
As the days unravel, many churches turn to present-day technology, social media platforms become the norm. Many ministry leaders grapple with the demand to be online every week for Bible study, for Sunday worship services. With this sought-after way of connecting with people and the pressure of doing it, week after week, comes what one author calls “zoom fatigue“.
With this going on, will the church go back to its “normal state”? To answer that, let’s look at how we do church before the COVID-19, I’ll refer to it as the “pre-covid state”. Churches were going through their usual way of conducting activities and services: keeping members busy and active. Churches were organizing meetings and encouraging members to come together, creating projects, events where members were either motivated or overburdened. During the pre-covid state, members were persuaded to carry out church driven directives. So I guess, whether online or not, there are stress related factors. But to those who love the Lord, they have the joy of coming to the presence of the Lord! I said, “coming to the presence of the Lord ” because this is what the heart of a true believer should look like, always looking forward to having an encounter and experience with the presence of the Lord. It is not so much about “doing church” but more on wanting and longing for Jesus!!!
Now, am I disregarding the “not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing” (Hebrews 10:25) expression? Nope! As a matter of fact, God changed the landscape and reset the timeline, and we are back to square one: meeting in our homes (Acts 5:42)! This is how the “post-covid” timeline will look like, going forward. Yes, believers will look forward in meeting in church buildings, but we have to accept the new norm. I believe God had planned this a long time ago. We are all the more drawn together to experience a more deeper relationship like never before. On top of that, I believe there will be expressions of worship that will emanate in every home gatherings, no holds barred, believers are more “free” to demonstrate the way they want to praise and worship the Lord as compared to a church service setting inside a building where they are held back because or the “formal” atmosphere. Now, the church is in its truest form.
Imagine your house, where the gathering is being held: now you have every opportunity to reach out in your neighborhood. If before, in a “church set up”, where activities were always happening, now, just change your mindset! Your group in your home can now come up with activities that will benefit your neighborhood. It’s that simple. Gone are the days where our mind is always preoccupied that everything should happen INSIDE the church. YOU are the church and your life, together with your home group, will be intentional with reaching out around your community and as you do this, you will win the favor (Acts 2: 47) of the people around your neighborhood because they will witness the church in its truest calling. This is not just a scenario, this is what will happen as the lockdown is easing up. God allowed your home to be a lighthouse in your area because a Grea-TER harvest is literally just outside your door. Prepare yourself, your group, to really be intentional and missional in your ways and thinking. If you don’t see this now, your will miss it and you will just go back and do the traditional church set up again. This move of the Holy Spirit is now taking away the mentality that only the Pastor can handle a gathering. We, who are coming from the pre-covid timeline have already heard tons of messages from the pulpit, we have been attending numerous Bible studies, we have responded and participated in prayer meetings, we have heard, guided and taught again and again on how to be a disciple of Christ. These are the things in the past! In the post-covid timeline, God has given us a fresh start, no more excuses, the expression “stop playing church” is now in its truest sense. Though this statement is commonly mentioned and overused, this time, it’s for real!! Let’s all do what we are called to do.
This pandemic is just the beginning. The fear was already sown. Worry becomes more persistent and fear abounds almost in everyday situation. People are more anxious than ever and expert says it will dissipate but will return by fall. So this is the time where the church should rise up to the occasion. We have Some One that can turn their anxiety into calmness. Through our lives, let people see, as we reach out to them, that Jesus overcomes all fear. Show your love and concern, reach out and offer a prayer, let your neighbors know that you are there for them. Don’t barrage them with your pietism. Remember, the Kingdom of God is not about religion, it’s all about relationship and they don’t need that from the moment you establish a connection. Let them experience God’s love through your concern. It’s the Holy Spirit who orchestrates that exact moment and will create that longing in their hearts and will make them realize for a need of a Savior. So, in contrast to what most churches are used to do – commando evangelism; attack and invade mentality, we apply the real way to do evangelism as described in Luke 10:1-9. This is how we proceed from here onwards.