Series - 2yrs

Two Years Later: Where Are We Now? (Part 3)

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When I first heard of the concept of COVID-19 lockdowns in the United States, including effectively closing down many churches, my first thought was how many lives this would cost—not save.

Speaking broadly across our culture—including all congregations without regard to Biblical fidelity—it is my conviction that small churches are still the backbone of this nation, and serve as a lifeline for many, many people. (I believe this is also true in a spiritual sense with regard to those churches that do remain Biblically faithful; see 2 Thess. 2:6-7.) These people very often count on the friends they see and know from their local church to take them to the doctor, bring them their medications, and just visit and check up on them.

Looking at it from the ministry side, then, how have our churches fared during the past two years since the crisis broke out? I would submit that the big difference between those that have thrived and those that have merely—or barely—survived depends on their focus on effective communication.

In the previous installment, I encouraged churches and ministries to evaluate their responses to the changing ministry climate, now two years into the pandemic, and we considered especially the area of technology.

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Two Years Later: Where Are We Now? (Part 2)

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“Two weeks to flatten the curve.” If that infamous line from 2020 still makes you grit your teeth, you’re not the only one.

But here’s the real issue that we as church leaders should be focused on: How have our churches and ministries handled the last two years’ worth of unprecedented opportunities?

Yes, granted, these years have also been fraught with peril, and none of us had ever “passed this way before” (Josh. 3:4). We might even well be shown grace for mistakes made, or decisions that we regret, from two years ago at this time. If we are still in the same holding pattern 24 months later, however, there may be a serious problem. In fact, I would submit that our focus ought to be on the next crisis, not the last one. From my humble view of the world, it is not a matter of if such a thing is going to happen again, but when it is going to happen.

I don’t know what form that crisis will take and, granted, it may be of such a nature that will be outside or beyond any preparations we endeavor to make. However, all of us should be using this time to allow for “iron (to sharpen) iron” (Prov. 27:17). We should want to be in the best position possible to minister to hurting and confused people—and even to address the substance of any forthcoming crises head-on.

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Two Years Later: Where Are We Now? (Part 1)

I will never forget the third Sunday in March of 2020.

On Saturday, March 14, I attended my first Prophecy Up Close event hosted by The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, in the Milwaukee area. That night, we drove down to Mendota, IL, to prepare for our ministry at Mendota Bible Church.

The fear of coronavirus was spreading quickly, as was the talk of locking down society—a term previously reserved for situations involving either extreme weather or an impending attack. I spoke about Biblical prophecy that day, and told the congregation that this would be a day that none of us would ever forget. And, indeed, it was. I remember reading news stories that afternoon about the emergency rules that would shortly be going into place in Illinois—all the while wondering how they related to our United States Constitution.

We stayed in our hotel that night, planning to meet a pastor for lunch on Monday. We walked over to McDonald’s for a snack to eat while we watched the final presidential primary debate, and there we caught a glimpse of what life would look like under lockdown.

The next day, as we left, our hotel clerk cried. At lunch at our restaurant, our waitress cried. Both of them feared financial ruin. We drove home, relieved to get back to Wisconsin—only to learn that the lockdowns would very quickly be following us north.

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