Fears over Coronavirus and its spread across the United States have already caused some churches to temporarily suspend services. As congregations mull preventive actions, some churches in parts of the world already affected by the virus are sharing how the unforeseen circumstances have been an opportunity to try new ministries or beef up existing outreaches.
Reach out. Jane*, a nurse in East Asia, lives in a city where fellowship and community were difficult as the virus spread, due to travel restrictions and suspended group gatherings. But Jane and her husband saw God open doors for them to love and serve their neighbors in small but meaningful ways.
Just last week, when Jane was outside, she saw an elderly woman who lives close by and asked about her health.
“Honestly, since this has happened, when you go outside, a lot of people have not even wanted to look at you or interact. They’ve seen you as the enemy,” Jane said, speaking to the fear that people have had of catching the virus. “She was just so excited that I asked about her and checked in on her.”
Improve technology. In Singapore, churches are working to enhance streaming capabilities and video ministries, in the event they can’t meet in person. Pastor Daniel Khong told Christianity Today meeting online has strengthened his church, Faith Community Baptist.
“Many of our cell groups come together in homes to watch our service livestream,” Khong said. “We deliberately end our livestreamed services early so that our cell groups can go out and pray over their neighborhood. Many have said they now feel a sense of responsibility for the spiritual well-being of their community, and some were even able to share the gospel with people they met.”
Pray strategically. Also in Singapore, CT reports prayer movements have started to address concerns about COVID-19. Every day at noon, St. Andrews Cathedral rings it bells, signaling a moment of unified prayer across the island. The Assemblies of God of Singapore calls churches together for COVID-19:00, a prayer initiative that starts at 7 p.m. every evening.
“For such a time as this, unity is the key,” said LoveSingapore, the organization that facilitates the noon prayer gathering. “We believe in the power of prayer agreement. For such a time as this, we need every believer to arise and seek God together for Singapore.”
-From Baptist Press, Christianity Today