The COVID-19 pandemic has me thinking about Lydia from the Book of Acts, the woman who was so changed by Christ that she influenced her whole household to know him too. Her love for God was contagious to those around her. In this unprecedented time, we have the same opportunity. How can we be people of influence in our communities that are looking for answers, for peace, and for hope?
You’ve probably heard the question: “If our church closed its doors today, would the community really miss us?” That’s our opportunity. How can we, as the church, bring value to our community right now? Here are some questions to consider:
1. Who are the people in your church right now? Who are the shut-ins? Who is on the margins? Who are the compromised? What is their baseline? On a normal day, how do they get their groceries? How do they get their medicine? On a normal day, who’s interacting with them? It’s not normal now, so how can you step in and be the church to those people? How do you love them well?
2. Apply the same idea to your neighbors. How can you contact them so you know them and they know you? How do you make yourself available right now, but keep a relationship with them in the future? How do you love them as Christ loved others?
3. Identify the hospitals, nursing homes, retirement centers, and assisted living homes in your zip code. Who are the highest-ranking officials in those places? What are their needs? How can you help? Your community needs to know who you are and what you’re about. They need people to depend on right now, and to know they can call on you when they need help again in the future.
How are we truly investing in the future? How can we love our communities so that Christ is made known? How do we thrive instead of survive? We must step out, leaders. Let’s aspire to be courageous, risk-taking Lydias for Christ today and in the future.
Carmen Halsey is an IBSA director of leadership development.