“When the Church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. It is then the world is made to listen to her message, though it may hate it at first.” – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
I firmly believe the church will thrive during this pandemic. In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis writes, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is a gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
We have been blessed with a major milestone. We now are living in days filled with signposts. When the church pens her next history, she will write of the days of COVID-19. Yet, it will not be lament. It will be a joyful song.
Here are six reasons why the church will thrive in pandemic:
The church will thrive in prayer
Schools have closed. Churches have moved online. Emergency declarations have been made. People worldwide now live in a state of uncertainty and have plenty of time on their hands. The church worldwide now is left to pray.
The church will cry out to God for wisdom, plead for safety and protection, and beg for the sparks of revival. And God will answer his people.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now (Philippians 1:3-6).
The church will thrive in community
The church never was limited to buildings or programs. The church always has been people united together by the common Savior, Jesus Christ. A decentralized church is church at its best.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-47).
The church will thrive as light in darkness
During this pandemic, the world will spew partisan politics, fear tactics, hoarding behavior and worse. Yet, the church will spread hope—legitimate hope. We will be carriers of abundant life and enteral life in Jesus Christ. In the midst of darkness, the church will shine.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).
The church will thrive in God’s plan
During my college days, I served as a congressional intern in a United States congressman’s local office. I was a tiny part of great conversations and big ideas. Yet, I never witnessed much change. I walked away from that experience convinced the greatest source of change is the local church. The church always has been God’s plan. That truth must never be forgotten.
And I tell you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it (Matthew 16:18).
The church will thrive in creativity
Within my own church, I was amazed at how quickly a plan came together to “do church” within the confines of crowd restrictions and infectious disease. I believe that only will increase as the restrictions continue in the days ahead.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43:19).
The church will thrive due to its power source
I believe the church will thrive because of the church’s power source. The church does not derive power from anyone other than the God who spoke the world into existence.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Jeff Gravens is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Sulphur Springs. This article is republished from his blog. The views expressed are those of the author.