Canceled Services; One Pastor's Perspective
While people around the word are practicing social distancing, and an increasing number of Americans are ordered to shelter-in-place, covid-19 temporarily cancels our church services. This article is one pastors perspective on the positive effect of canceled services in American churches.
Covid-19 forces Christians to realize the truth pastors have preached for years: the building is not the church. This is a good lesson, with a potentially positive effect on Christians. And covid-19 has created a perfect opportunity to learn what this looks like in real-life. When this pandemic is behind us, churches may see their members gather for worship and leave to serve.
Covid-19 forces pastors to preach to souls, not faces. As our congregations are replaced with a camera lens and microphones an irony occurs. We are simply preaching to souls not to faces. The irony is that an empty room is the humble reminder that our sermons must change the condition of the heart not the expression of the face. Covid-19 is useful in reminding us of this truth.
Covid-19 reminds pastors to feed people and starve our egos. It may not be a pastors intention to use his sermon to feed his ego but pride has a way of hijacking even the best of intentions. Empty rooms offer no emotional response such as verbal amen's, lifting of hands, or smiles of approval. The empty room and camera lens reminds us there are people at home tuning in for biblical truth and spiritual healing. When the sermon is done there are no pats on the back or words of validation from church members, just shut down the equipment and trust God's promise that His word will not return void.
Covid-19 is connecting people together. Although social distancing prevents us from physical contact and face to face interaction, Christians are intentionally connecting with each other. Volunteers are calling church members to check in on them. In some cases they are talking to people they rarely take time to talk to at church. In other cases volunteers are dropping off care packages or groceries at the homes of church members. Through social distancing, church members are serving one another and forging bonds that will last long past the pandemic.
Covid-19 reinforces the truth that the home, not the church, is the front lines of biblical training. While the church is vital to the development of its members, it is the training in the home that has a greater influence. Covid-19 places parents back in the lead position of training their families in the word of God. Eventually the pandemic will come to an end and churches will once again come along side parents to aid them in training their families, but may parents continue taking the lead in the spiritual development and protection of their homes.
In conclusion, this article addressed only a few positive effects of canceling church services due to covid-19. There are numerous effects with negative and potentially long term consequences as well; perhaps they will be the subject of a different article. We hope this article reminds Christians of the truth in Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."
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