How to be a missionary in a COVID-19 world?
This program is suitable for both in-person and zoom settings.
Select your panelists a week in advance. Ensure they have the question list so they can research and ponder on their potential answers.
COVID-19 restrictions have made a significant impact on our traditional methods of outreach. Many of our witnessing strategies involved being in the same physical location as the persons we are trying to reach. Social distancing restrictions, as well as the fear of contracting the coronavirus, in many cases, brought these activities to a total halt.
The work of the Gospel is an unstoppable force. We can choose whether we want to be a part of the movement of God or spectators to the workings of the Holy Spirit. Since the pandemic never caught God by surprise, he will empower all who seek to fulfil His calling with the means to accomplish it. Instead of sitting and waiting for our governments and church leaders to figure out the way forward, God is calling all of us to continue the work that is there to do. We should never let a crisis go to waste because, with each crisis, new opportunities appear that were previously impossible or impractical.
We should make haste to meet the needs of a world crying out in confusion. Many people have lost income, family members and even their sense of purpose. It is in times like these that we can reveal to them a more sure foundation on which to lay their trust. Will we go out and minister or will we shrink away in fear.
In the bible, the Israelites faced a similar predicament. The temple of the Lord in Jerusalem went under siege and fell into ruins during the Babylonian onslaught. For decades the temple lay to waste during the Israelite captivity. Finally, the word came from the Medo-Persian government to all the Israelites to rebuild the temple so worship services could resume. However, the children of Israel were reluctant to go out and work, claiming to be fearful of their surrounding enemies.
Read aloud or get an articular reader to read the entire chapter of Haggai chapter 1.
Follow up this passage by also reading or paraphrasing The Seventh Day Adventist White Bible Commentary by EGWhite on Haggai Chapter 1.
Make comparisons between the delay of the work of rebuilding the temple and delaying our efforts to reach out to people during the possible lowest point many people have ever experienced in their life.
Many may claim fear for their lives as a reason to delay the work of God. This is a valid concern, and God does not want us to carelessly put our selves in danger to carry out his work. When reconstruction of the temple finally resumed, the people took all the necessary precautions to protect themselves from their ever-present enemies. Nehemiah 4:16-18 tells us that even while they were at work, they had a sword in one hand and the other hand was carrying out the work.
Seeing that we will be operating amid a deadly pandemic, it is crucial to ensure we taking adequate precautions. Our frontline medical and essential services professionals selflessly carry out their role to save dying men and women, while protecting themselves. We have an equal or even greater responsibility to save the people in our world. We have a health message to keep them from developing the co-morbidities that result in death from COVID-19. We have a message of hope to save them from hopeless depression and offer Christ who can give them peace, not as the world gives but one that surpasses all understanding. We have a mandate to save them from a life without Christ, battered with the consequences that of a life of sin offers. We the message of a vaccine that is 100% effective, if they choose to accept the grace that Jesus offers, eternal life is guaranteed with the benefit of perpetual bliss and sustenance provided through Christ's sacrifice.
Finally, form a panel of 4 - 5 individuals, male and female, old and young. Present the panellists with the following questions beforehand to help them prepare. Have a fruitful conversation about our role as a church and as individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Feel free to throw out questions to the audience as well as accepts input from them to enhance the conversation. You can ask as few or as many questions in the order you desire.
The church in COVID times.
- How do we reach the needs of our community without risking community spread? Especially to the vulnerable population.
- Should we be inviting visitors to the physical church? What are the ways that we can invite people to learn about God?
- Given the level of uncertainty in the world today. Should we as a church, wait till the smoke clears before we start changing our traditional services and routines?
- Traditional church services have been disrupted, should we fully embrace the technology or do our best to keep our church services in the real world.
- How has COVID-19 impacted your personal ministry?
- How do we fellowship with social distancing restrictions? What are ways to communicate the same warmth, and closeness the church provides in this time?
- Given the benefits of discussions and small groups that are commonly experienced in sabbath school and AY. What can we do to encourage conversation?
- Given that we are going to be inevitably online, what strategy should the church develop to carry out our mandate?
- How do we frame everything in the context of last days?