With the rise in safety measures across the nation, and across the world, on how to protect ourselves against the Coronavirus, many churches have closed their doors, some for an indefinite time period.
Although many churches are live streaming services and not all have closed their doors, depending on the state and church, many Christians are not currently able to attend the church they call home, and we don’t know how long is a long enough period of social distancing until we can return.
Not all solutions are perfect, but we can still find ways to be the church and care for those in our congregation, even if we don’t go to a physical building on Sundays as we wait for the threat of the virus to dissipate.
What Is the Church?
When we look at the word church, we have two terms: a local church and the Universal Church. The first one refers to a church building we regularly attend. But the Universal Church stands for all Christians, throughout all periods of time, who call the Lord Jesus Christ their Savior, who worship him, and who have devoted their lives to his calling.
We may not be able to access our local churches at this time, but we are still part of a greater Universal church that spans all borders, ages, orthodox denominations, time periods, and languages.
This article will mostly cover how we can still be the church to our local churches, but I wanted to dedicate a portion of a subsection to show that we can still care for our brothers and sisters across the world, as we are all part of one family in Christ.
But as for the local church, how can we still be the church when we’re apart?
We Can Watch Sermons Online, if Possible
Not all churches have video-recorded sermons or are planning to live stream sermons for the next few weeks, but many do. We can make sure to hear from the word from a pastor every Sunday, even if it happens to be on a TV screen in our family room.
If our pastors don’t happen to stream their videos, ask them if they have any recorded sermons. Many church websites have these. And if they don’t, ask if they know of any sermons online that they recommend having a listen.
No matter what the case, we can be the church by hearing a message from a pastor every week (Romans 10:14).
We Can Still Continue to Give
Many churches could suffer financial crises during this time. With people’s uncertainty of the future of their jobs or having to cut back on costs, church offerings are often the first expense to go.
One way we can be the church, especially to our local church, is to continue to give. Many churches have a place online where you can send a donation. If not, mail a check to the church.
If for some reason, both options are not possible, write some checks and set them aside, budgeting around how much would be taken out of the bank, had you sent a check.
We can also give in other ways. We can ask our pastors and leaders of our churches how we can pray for them, as they face uncertainty as well. And we can give resources to members of our congregations who may need toiletries or food.
As many states clear out of shelves, many church members may be worried if they’ll have enough food to eat or have stocked up all the necessities. Reach out to members of your congregation and offer to be a helping hand wherever they need.
We Can Continue to Pray for One Another
Nothing can brighten someone’s day more than if they hear you’ve been praying for them. Ask members of your small group how you can lift them up in prayer, engage and talk with them daily. With social media and phones, we have the ability to call and reach out to anyone at our church. And many churches have directories available.
If your church has a directory, pray for every member on that list. If not, pray for the members who you do know, and ask those members for other names at the church you can lift up to the Lord.
Why Does This Matter?
Although we’ve entered a confusing time as a nation and as a world, we can still continue to trust in the Lord’s guidance, his peace, and his providence.
In the meantime, we still have the ability to be the church for our local and Universal churches by continuing to give, love, and serve one another. Even if we don’t have a building to go to, we have an all-powerful and all-loving God. He will still provide ways for us to care for our church family.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has become a resource for many as we face growing fear and anxiety due to the Coronavirus pandemic. God is ALWAYS our source of protection, strength and peace during unknown times. In addition, the following articles may offer more encouragement for all to remember as we face the trials of COVID-19 together:
- Do Not Fear! 10 Verses about Fear & Anxiety to Remind Us That God is in Control
- Prayers for Peace Amidst Pandemic Fear
- Powerful Prayers for Coronavirus - Those Sick and Those Worried
- What “No Harm Shall Overcome You” in Psalm 91:10 Means for the Coronavirus
- "Be Still and Know That I Am God": Meaning & Promise of Psalm 46:10
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Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 600 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, (Illuminate YA) Den (releasing July 2020), Dear Hero (releasing September 2020), and Dear Henchman (releasing 2021) Find out more about her here.