Every month Dr. Bekele Shanko writes to one of our global leaders sharing valuable principles of church multiplication movements.
Today, Bekele writes Ricky Magno, the GCM area director for Southeast Asia and shares seven thoughts on responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Though written to Ricky, the principles are applicable for us all in this time of crisis. Please feel free to listen in as Bekele describes what he has been learning about achieving scope.
Greetings in the name of our Lord. At this challenging time of global lockdown due to COVID-19, I would like you to know that our team is praying for you and for the whole world asking for God’s mercy and protection. As you lead our ministries in the Southeast Asia region, I thought of sharing for your consideration the following seven ways of doing church in the midst of the global pandemic. For easy reference, I have connected these seven things to our familiar framework of Pray-Care-Share.
Prayer is one of the most important spiritual disciplines every Christian home can develop during COVID-19. God has commanded us to pray. And there are so many things that we can pray for, and mobilize other believers to pray for. For example:
- Pray personally, pray in your family, pray with others virtually.
- Pray for God to have mercy on humanity, that the gospel might be proclaimed, and that sinners would be saved.
- Pray that God would send workers to the harvest field, and for protection and provision for those workers.
- Pray that the church would focus on the Great Commission.
- Pray for the unity of the body of Christ.
- Pray that God’s will would be accomplished on the earth.
2. Cultivate family-centered worship
God commanded the Israelite communities to make families a central place of worship and instruction. I believe that today He is using COVID-19 to restore the place of families in His Kingdom. (Dt. 6:1-8) Therefore, find ways to inspire and equip Christian homes to become places of worship and discipleship.
I believe God has given this time for family members to connect with one another and cultivate godliness, rest and spiritual revival in their home.
3. Help others
During this challenging time, in addition to taking care of yourself, your families and those around you, help churches find ways to mobilize believers to demonstrate what it means to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” ( Mt. 22: 39) While observing the guidelines set by local and national officials, there are many ways for believers to express their love and care for “neighbors” near and far.
This could include calling and checking on them, ordering deliveries of meals and other essential items, reading Bible verses and praying for them, collecting financial resources and meeting their priority needs.
4. Develop and distribute relevant content
Help pastors develop and distribute to families and group leaders relevant content on evangelism, discipleship, and the skills of small group leadership. Families should not be left to themselves to figure out what to do. Helping the members of a congregation go through a common content and process will not only enable families to know what to do but also connect the members of the church with one another and the objectives of the church.
5. Focus on equipping leaders
COVID-19 has not only shown us the importance of leaders but has also given us opportunities to develop them. The effectiveness of family-centered worship, as well as ministries, depends on the character and competence of the leaders. Therefore, use most of your time to coach leaders virtually, also encouraging those leaders to coach other leaders and to multiply themselves.
I encourage you to think about employing the power of multiplication in training leaders. For instance, one leader training and coaching three or five other leaders virtually who are also training three or five other leaders who are doing the same. Training in such small groups enables leaders to have better coaching relationships, quickly identify and solve problems, and develop a structure of multi-generational coaching relationships.
6. Quickly learn how to do ministry virtually
COVID-19 has forced the body of Christ to learn to minister virtually. Many churches and leaders have posted live or pre-recorded messages on TV, social media or Zoom, and distributed podcasts and evangelistic messages digitally. Christian musicians have posted live concerts or led worship on Facebook and elsewhere.
Therefore, I encourage you to help pastors and ministry leaders quickly learn from best practices and adjust the way they do ministry. The pandemic has also forced the church to recognize the priesthood of all believers. This is the time for every believer to do all that God is calling them to do, and one of the ways to do this is to minister to others virtually.
7. Always think of innovative ways of doing ministry
Ministry strategies, approaches, processes, and systems do change; but what doesn’t change is the gospel message. While maintaining the integrity of the Word of God and the message of the gospel, encourage believers, and especially ministry leaders, to seek and develop innovative ways of proclaiming the good news, organizing church services, making disciples, and training leaders.
Since the global lockdown, we are already witnessing many creative ways of doing these things, including drive-in churches, sending video clips to friends, feature films that help in evangelism and discipleship, and holding virtual local and international conferences. Finally, the Holy Spirit is in charge of His church; so be in tune with Him and do what He asks you do.