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The stench of COVID-19 that I hope doesn’t go away (Part 1)

Apr 22, 2020

Mike Schrage, President

COVID-19 is an invisible virus, a global disrupter! Our usual way of doing business, medicine, education, and church will likely never be the same. Don’t we all wrestle with that last one? As Christ followers, we all agree that the church is people and not a curriculum, building, or campus. We know this, yet we live like the church is only a physical structure.

We say things like "go to church” when we are the church, or “do church” when we are already part of the church with God’s Spirit inside us. Of course, we are social beings created for community, but what does the Lord of the Harvest really want? He wants us to multiply ourselves—to make other churches so that people from every tribe, tongue, and nation will have the chance to know, love, obey, follow, and worship Him!

I think this pandemic has shown that technology can cause us to have heightened intentionality in sharing the gospel with others. The essential part of the gospel is not the gathering of saints (that happens at the banquet feast in Heaven), but is more about winning the pre-follower, finding the seeker, and going after the lost one. That is the heart of our Shepherd.

Our missionaries already know this. They're often deployed to countries that are harsh, geographically and spiritually. They're often commissioned to plant a church among people who have never seen a Christ follower, much less a church gathering. So why do missionaries succeed in these harsh conditions? They know they are the church. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, these foot soldiers use their passion, calling, and technology to multiply themselves: the church. They make disciples, start communities of fellowship, and teach those disciples to do the same, creating disciple-multiplying movements. Have we done this in a place that we know, in a language we inherited, with resources that are innumerable here at home? I think COVID-19’s impact can nudge us to pivot and learn how to become more intentional and missional as those missionaries have done.

Nineteen years ago we faced another disruptor. On 9/11, we saw crashing airplanes, crumbling towers, the death of nearly 3,000, and the injury of thousands more. A stench covered our land. However, God, our Redeemer, had a plan and the church rose up; she left her safe walls and more Muslims came to Christ than in the previous 1,400 years!

A stench is once again covering our land. Many believers are stepping up to be the church, instead of doing church. God will redeem this time, and I wonder what will be said of us in nineteen years? Click here to read Part 2.


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