As I write, according to the number of confirmed cases, it appears that many countries are where we were in China two months ago: The USA today has the number of confirmed cases China had 7 weeks ago; Australia and Canada are 8 weeks behind; the UK 7½ weeks. The pandemic situation across various African and South American countries is also rapidly evolving. Here, for you outside of China, is what we’ve learned regarding church and international student ministry in this season. https://au.thegospelcoalition.org/article/together-apart/
The Coronavirus Experiment
Christian leaders all across the world are facing two unprecedented problems as I write this blog. But the great missionary James Fraser faced those exact two problems before us, and we can learn a lot from how he responded. Maybe we will even look back on these days and thank God for the Western Church’s great Coronavirus experiment.
COVID-19 Means Doing Evangelism At A Distance
The global spread of COVID-19 has required ministries to change the way they operate. Many conferences, trainings, meetings, and other in-person gatherings are being canceled. Some churches have stopped meeting face to face. Many ministries are no longer sending missionaries onto campuses, 15 countries have enacted nationwide school closures, and some entire nations have gone into lockdown. But the mission God has called us to hasn’t changed. Jesus Christ rules with life and peace in a world consumed with fear and death (Col. 3:15). As followers of Jesus we have an opportunity to demonstrate compassion as we care for others and support the guidance of the WHO and your local public health organizations. At the end of this article are some helpful resources for reaching out to others. https://indigitous.org/2020/03/11/covid-19-means-doing-evangelism-at-a-distance/
Taking church online in a Coronavirus age
Like most other pastors and church leaders in recent weeks, I’m in the throes of confusion. The rapid spread of COVID-19 has forced upon us an ecclesiological conundrum. What does it even mean to be a “church” in times like this? How much does it matter that we continue to gather, physically, in the midst of such fear and uncertainty? Is such a decision wise or unwise? At what point are we being resolute or reckless? https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/church-online-coronavirus-age/
I’m connecting with people online – what should I do with them?
There has never been a better time to learn how to use social media and to connect with people online. This can be in small groups or individually. Write an email or send a message or call someone and offer to meet with them. What should you do when you meet? The following Bible study material from the UK has been designed for use in small groups or one-to-one studies; it seeks to facilitate discussion on particular issues facing returnees living back in China. https://www.seaturtles.org.uk/bible-studies/