Enduring COVID-19 | 7 Ways to Sustain Gospel Ministry
Renovation Church & Friends,
We are living in unprecedented times. Over the course of the last couple weeks, our lives have literally come to a halt. What was typical for our daily lives in terms of interaction, productivity, and mobility is awkwardly different. The LORD in His sovereignty has allowed the COVID-19 virus to become a major pandemic across the globe. In many ways, we admit confusion and disorientation. For some, anxiety and panic has set in both overtly and subtly. Yet, we as Christ’s people take a step back… a deep breath and agree with a confession I overheard from a young believer, “The LORD has a purpose in all this.”
Knowing our God and His constant watching over all creation and people, we do not lose heart, nor do we give up on hope. Thus, we seek the LORD together as to how we are to move ahead in these days with faithful gospel ministry. During our elder and staff discussion times, we have prayed and strategized together to ensure the continuation of gospel ministry within the parameters we are able. We want to layout for you seven meaningful ways you can help us do just that:
- Read the Bible.
There is a lot we can’t do right now. It can be frustrating for those who love to produce and accomplish. Yet, with your calendars empty, we can take extra time to hear from God in His Word. While we follow current events in the news and ongoing updates about this virus, may our eyes be fixed on Jesus. Meditate on Scripture. Psalm 1 teaches us that the blessed person is the one who meditates on God’s law day and night. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. If you need help in developing a simple plan for Bible reading, reach out to Ethan Fordham ([email protected]) and he would be more than willing to point you in a good direction.
- Pray for God to act mercifully.
In our solitude and isolation, cry out to the LORD. Pray for Him to be glorified. Recite the LORD’s Prayer. Seek His face. Ask for wisdom and strength. Work through passages and prayers in Scripture like those in Paul’s epistles especially the prayers of Ephesians 3 and Colossians 1. Recite these on behalf of your spouse, family, neighbors, and fellow church members. Pray for your government leaders per 1 Timothy 2. Cry out to God that he would be merciful in providing for people’s needs, comforting those who are hurting, calming those full of anxiety, and drawing lost people to faith in Christ. God is merciful. He loves to respond to our broken spirit and contrite heart when we plead to Him for mercy.
- Engage Renovation Church online.
We are going to be as active as possible through our Facebook (FB) page given the social distancing restraints. We as a leadership want to be very clear about our position regarding what takes place each week online. As grateful as we are for the technology and the gifts of our people to make it happen, we do not view our livestream events as corporate worship. When God calls us to respond to His redemptive work in Jesus Christ, it is a call to gather physically together in one place as one body. It is a here-and-now experience of our great anticipation of one day being with Christ together in heaven worshipping our King! This will be no virtual phenomenon. It will be an all-encompassing joy and as such will include our very real presence together with Christ. So, as we engage online let us see it for what it is and isn’t. Let us not forsake the assembly nor distort it with any sort of modern replacement.
As we prepare to worship together corporately in the future, here are a list of things you can expect starting NEXT week (of 3.22.20):
- GOOD NEWS from the Psalms | FB Livestream Event | Sundays 10am-11am
- God Is: A Study of God’s Attributes w/Mike Mazzye & Jeremy Cali | FB Livestream Event | Wednesdays 7:00pm-7:30pm
- Renovation Church Blog Posts by Ethan Fordham | Thursdays Check email, FB, etc
- Pastoral Prayer w/Mike Mazzye | FB Livestream Event | Fridays 12:00pm-12:05pm
Be sure to login to FB about 5 minutes prior to start time. We encourage you to participate to the degree you are able. Also, be sure to SHARE Renovation Church’s page with its FB events with your friends. This can be a helpful way to expose people within your relational reach to the gospel. You can CLICK HERE to view our Facebook page.
- Give financially to Benevolence Fund (and Operating Fund).
As you know, the economic impact on this has been massive. What an opportunity to display your love of others in helping meet their needs. We have a Benevolence Fund that we encourage you to give in order to help come alongside your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and needs that arise within our larger community. People in our community have very real financial needs due to loss of work during this time, and we are already receiving requests and responding to these needs. Thanks to those who have given already. Also, do not forget to give to the Operating Fund as well. Be sure to remain faithful as ongoing support of ministry is crucial and necessary. Know that the elders and staff are working diligently to cut all unnecessary expenses at this time to ensure our financial health and ability to give generously as needed. Click here to give online: GIVE ONLINE. Be sure to select the desired FUND.
- Serve according to the needs of others.
People are facing needs from multiple directions. May your eyes be attentive to the needs of others. Ask the LORD for wisdom as to WHO and HOW you can tangibly bless others. This does not need to be a MAJOR effort either. One can simply send an encouraging note, offer to run an errand for someone less able/mobile, or even reach out to local governing officials to find simple ways to lend a hand. This models the servant-hearted nature of Jesus Himself.
- Make contact with other Renovation Church members.
During a time where we are emphasizing “social distancing” we are concerned that some will feel isolated, alone, and depressed. While we are encouraged to not be in the same room with each other, there is an opportunity for us to be a reassuring voice over the phone. Be sure to set aside some time during the week to make some phone calls to other members at Renovation. If able, use the Facetime feature to add an extra personal touch to the conversation. Maybe ask some simple questions to check-in, hear what God is teaching them during this, share a verse that has spoken to you from the Scriptures, and end in a short prayer for one another. This will go along way to ensure the sustaining of fellowship and care for the community. If we can assist in providing phone numbers, reach out to us.
- Wait patiently and hopefully.
In this time, we long for the day we can worship together again in the same room. Nothing can replace the actual, physical presence of God’s people. Hearing their voices lift God’s Name in praise. Participating in the LORD’s Supper together is such a special moment in the life of the Church. We cannot do this. It is a sad thing. Like the Psalmist we feel a deep longing for the presence of God in the midst of His people, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of Hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD!” (Psalm 84:1-2). These are days of waiting and longing. We trust in our LORD that He will bring us together again. We wait in hope knowing that “none who wait for you shall be put to shame.” (Psalm 25:3) So, let us wait patiently and hopefully. God knows what He is doing. His purposes for us are good. Even if in this life his providence temporarily hinders us from worship, we rest in the hope of His plan to bring us to the new heavens and new earth… in the new Jerusalem where we will not only be physically with one another… but also with Jesus Christ our LORD and Savior. Come, Lord Jesus.
This email was not intended to be a list of “to-do’s” but rather a simple way to encourage people that there is much we can do to sustain faithful gospel ministry together as a Church. God is still at work through His people in this world! May the LORD give each of you joy and strength in such a unique moment in world history.
In all this, Jesus loves you. And, so do we. Let us know if there is anything we can do to serve you.