A Challenge To Our Churches

Monday, July 13, 2020
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Onward Christian Soldiers"1 (Lyrics)

Acts 1:8 – You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (NIV)

I was startled when I opened an email and found a striking picture of the devil talking to Jesus.

"With COVID-19, I have closed your churches!" the devil gloated. And the response from Jesus? "Wrong! I have opened one in every home!"

I love beautiful sanctuaries, wonderful organ music, and the comfort of being with other Christians. However, the Holy Spirit is turning our focus to the places where the people are, not only in our local communities, but everywhere in the world!

As churches develop innovative ways to reach out via the Internet, I find myself challenged to discover where the Spirit may take us. For instance, a staff member of a large church with many pastors told me that they are receiving thousands of inquiries on their outreach website.

This virus is causing people to wonder about the big questions of life. Why am I here? Could I die, not having done what I could have done, perhaps what I was meant to do? Is there more beyond this life? I feel confused and lost in this new world of the pandemic. Where is God?

I became concerned about people who do not use the Internet or can't afford it. So, I asked a number of churches if they would join a "Need help?" list in the Hi-Rise Community Newspaper, which I publish here in Toronto, Canada. They would list only their pastoral phone numbers. Seven agreed, and they are getting phone calls.

Evangelism involves being willing to put ourselves out there, believing that the Holy Spirit will do the work. The apostles knew that. They went out to the towns and cites and into homes, and they took the risk of rejection, empowered by the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised to give them.

Now there is increasing pressure to allow churches to resume regular worship services. As this starts to happen, the challenge is whether our churches will not only continue in this new form of outreach, but build upon it, as the Spirit leads. Will we as individuals also seek to know the will of the Spirit in this matter?

Prayer: You sent Your disciples out into the world to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth. Help us to understand where the Spirit may be leading Your churches, that we will not be fearful, but trust the leadership of the Spirit. Amen.

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About the author:

Valerie Dunn

1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    So true, Val.

    Thanks, Valerie. A thoughtful challenge for us.

    Thank you, Valerie.
    What a timely message.

    Amen Val! A good word today.

    Thanks, Valerie, for sharing this timely devotional with us. Blessings.

    Good food for thought Valerie. The church has indeed a lot to consider in the days ahead. Blessings and stay safe.

    Amen Val.
    Wonderful devotional.
    Come what may, the church is matching on. Blessings.

    Hi Valerie,
    Thanks for today’s devotion. I am the clerk at our local Presbyterian church and I too wonder what our regular Sunday services will be like and how well the services will be attended post covid 19.
    Thanks for these words!

    Good Morning Valerie:
    Your devotional this morning is so “on the mark” for this challenging time. I believe the Lord is working in this unusual time and opening doors that we haven’t been using. Believing Romans 8:28 this COVID-19 can be an opportunity.
    Blessings and thank you for your devotional.

    Life since the virus struck, and we are in lockdown. Well done in creating a directory by which these questions can be answered.
    Each of us also has to be ready to give answers and explain the hope that we share in Jesus’ good news! There is indeed “a church in every home”!
    Many thanks, Valerie for your inspiring devotional, I’m carrying it into today, with the expectation that I may have the opportunity to reach out with “good news”.
    With gratitude,

    Great point, Valerie!
    This is a real challenge to small churches without the resources for online services, but even small steps can make a difference as we need to find new ways to reach out. Maybe someday, the PPC will find a way to help us with this. I’m thinking pre-recorded videos, children’s stories, inspirational slides, music, etc. that we could use as part of our local services and post on our website and Facebook page. Definitely food for thought.
    Blessings to you!

    We need to be ready with answers to: why do you believe in God? Help the homeless, poor, widow, orphans and pensioners, and people in jail. Our help is needed more than ever. Ministry is everywhere! Where we worship is not really important right now. Of course, I want back into my Church. I am worshipping online and that’s ok. The Lord said, the poor will always be with us. And I help them. I do my best to follow God’s Will. God is faithful. Who knows? Maybe we will go back to home churches, like in The Book of Acts. I keep up my financial givings to my local church. I miss seeing my friends from church, but I will see them again. God provides. Thanks for writing your email Devotional. Amen.

    Hello Valerie
    Thank you for this devotional and also putting out into in the newspaper for ones who need help.
    My pastor in the Azores did his services online and he is going to continue even though we can go to church with necessary precautions in place. Not a big congregation for sure but he was telling us someone on the other island found the website and has been watching and reached out to the pastor. He is continuing conversations with this person and we are praying for opened doors and salvation as the Holy Spirit leads.
    We are now back home in Ont. again until, hopefully, returning for the winter. God is good and so thankful He is with us and wants to be with everyone. Praying for renewed relationships with Him and new salvation.
    God bless.

    Great stuff, Valerie! So glad you thought of all those not online who need help too! Thanks for your emphasis on the work of the Spirit.

    Very good devotion.
    Thank you and may God bless you.

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