As I write this, COVID-19 or coronavirus has now spread to 164 countries with 8,727 dead worldwide and more than 200,000 infected. It is a global crisis and has been declared a pandemic. Most governments have declared an emergency asking all to take precautionary measures.
I had to cancel and change my ministry travel plans within India and return earlier than planned. We had to cancel all scheduled large gatherings. We postponed the special 90-year anniversary celebrations at India Bible College & Seminary and the outdoor graduation service where we were expecting 4,000 guests and held the graduation with just the students, faculty and staff inside the chapel. Similar things took place at other training centers as well.
Now is the time we do things differently yet strategically to fulfill the Great Commission. We use the tools that God has given us and yet remember the most powerful ones are the personal connection and communication we maintain to share the Gospel.
How do we communicate the Good News while maintaining social distance? What do we do?
Let me suggest five things that we all must do:
1) PRAY: The Bible says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7 NLT)
Prayer is essential and it shows we are dependent on His Grace. We communicate with Him day and night and express our confidence and trust in Him in the midst of this crisis. Pray that He will use this crisis for His glory and all people will turn to Him and receive His Grace and experience His peace and eternal life.
Prayer will help you to trust and not panic as those who have no hope. Pray for opportunities to instruct people to humble themselves and seek the help of God for His supernatural intervention and the healing of our land and nations. This should be a time of self-examination, reflection on the Word and timely action. This should be a time of intense and fervent intercession.
2) BELIEVE: God is in control of every situation. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us faith to trust Him in uncertain times. Remind yourself that He came to this world, died for our sins, rose again from the dead, ascended to heaven and He will come again to rule this world. Jesus who is Sovereign and Ruler is with you and He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. Jesus has power over any situation and will grant you His peace and assurance.
Jesus said “I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” Think of it, nothing will crush, defeat, conquer or eliminate the church. Nothing, even plagues or viruses. The church will remain, even into eternity. The church is you and I, who have been cleansed and redeemed by Jesus Christ, a body of believers. We as believers in Jesus Christ unite, live, face challenges and love together. Our hope and connection are both found in Jesus Christ. He holds us together.
3) CONNECT: This is a great time to connect with your non-Christian friends and neighbors via phone, Skype, FaceTime, email, etc., and share the Good News of Jesus Christ and what He can do when we place our trust in Him.
4) MODEL: You have a role to play in stopping this virus—by faith, through prayer, as a church—we want to be obedient citizens, responsible believers as we practice good hygiene, social distancing, and even exercising restraint as we avoid panic in the hoarding of food and goods.
5) SUPPORT: We are called to fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are to proclaim who Jesus Christ is and share what He has offered when people place their trust in Him. He will liberate people from their fears and anxieties and He alone can give hope and assurance of eternal life.
We are to send and support those who proclaim the Good News. This is what IGO evangelists do all the time. They need your help and regular support.
Pray for all needs to be met for every IGO evangelist and his family who are engaged in sharing the Gospel and establishing communities of faith where they have never heard about Jesus Christ.
Let’s proclaim the good news of hope that we have in Jesus Christ “in season and out of season.”
May the power of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ fill your hearts with hope, joy and peace.