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  • Hannah Williamson

Questions the Church may want to ask in light of coming out of the coronavirus...

There are days where I wake up and for a split second forget that life is different to what it has ever been. For me, this week marks 8 weeks of being in lock down. I went into lock down a little earlier than others because of getting sick. My life for the past few years has been nothing like what I could have ever imagined. It was only 6 months ago that I took a sabbatical and spent 3 months travelling, learning and processing through all the strange things going on in my life. Just a few months later, I find that I have more time to reflect as we face this global pandemic that none of us could have ever imagined happening!

As the days have ticked on, I have begun to wonder what life will look like for the church coming out of Lock down. At this stage, we really have no idea how this will happen but there are a few things I think we can consider as we move forward:

1. How will we make space for the thousands seeking after Jesus?

‘The whole world is going to run after Him.’ John 12:19 (TPT)

I really believe in this time people are going to begin running after Jesus. It’s interesting but in a time of crisis people often start seeking and looking into the meaning of life. A friend who had gone to buy food for our church foodbank told me that as she was paying for the food the cashier began to ask what it was for. She explained it was for a food bank linked to her church. The cashier began asking ‘what is the church saying? What do they think is going to happen? What does God say about this?’ This person who didn’t know God was beginning to seek after Him. It would be foolish to ignore the fact that millions are watching church online that may have never connected with a church before. I firmly believe people in their living rooms are choosing to follow Jesus. Maybe we need to start preparing for the harvest?

2. How will we serve the poor?

‘Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honours Him.’ Proverbs 14:31 (NLT)

I can’t comment on other countries, but I know in the UK thousands are facing unexpected difficulties due to losing jobs, food shortages, vulnerable not being able to get out of their homes and other such challenges. This shows us very obvious needs in our communities that we, the church, can touch and help. I think the challenge at this time is to find out what the exact problems are and to be innovative about how we help them. I think it’s also important for the church to get this kind of thinking into the hearts and lives of our people. This isn’t just a response to be acted on by the church leadership, but this is something that all of us have a part to play in. How will you serve the people directly around your house? What does serving your neighbours look like? Imagine if every person in your church community took upon themselves the responsibility of being the hands and feet of Jesus to their neighbours…..I think our churches would grow very quickly!

3. How will we help/support the thousands facing grief?

‘Jesus wept’ John 11:35 (NIV)

After having an experience of grief myself, I began thinking a few months ago before Covid became a crisis, what it must have been like after World War 2 where huge amounts of the population would have been facing grief. What was a ‘shared grief’ like when grief isn’t really shared, it’s individual to all? It seems like a strange thing to have been thinking about in light of the current crisis we find ourselves in. After the war, grief was often buried and people just ‘got on’ with life. I’m not entirely sure that was helpful to that generation. Will we be different now? Will we actively help people to grieve? Will we support them and offer places to speak through what they are facing. I really believe this is a great opportunity for the church to be of help to thousands. People may be asking the questions of life and death or they may just be needing someone who can lend a listening ear. I hope our churches will be the ones that they listen to. Maybe the church should be thinking about grief support groups, individual support, practical support or teaching on how to face grief?

4. How will we continue to make the Gospel accessible online?

‘..from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.’ 1 Chronicles 12:32

I find this passage from 1 Chronicles so profound and I think we can learn so much. This group of people understood what was going on in their world and understood what their people should do in light of this. This crisis we are facing has forced churches to look at how they are making their services available for people who can’t make it physically to their buildings. I don’t know what your church has been like, but it has really made us consider the words we use as so many people who may not know Jesus could be logging on and watching what we are putting up. So often we can use words that make us look like an ‘in club’ rather than a group reaching out to everyone. Online church has made it easier for a wide range of people to see who Jesus is and what his teachings are all about. In many ways, it has swung open the doors of the church to the community like never before! I realise every time I put up a post on my social media that a huge range of people can see it and it can offer hope or fear. I hope in the coming months the church will continue to think creatively about how it keeps the ‘doors’ wide open.

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1 Comment

bless Afful
bless Afful
May 04, 2020

Very thought provoking Hannah,

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