In this age of COVID-19, amid fear and panic, I am reminded of the Book of Esther. My favorite verse is,
And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (4:13-14)
We, too, are faced with a daunting challenge. Will our fate depend upon our own faithfulness to God? While Esther faced death for daring to approach the King without being called, we face the unknown. Many churches have stopped meeting in the face-to-face. Some have gone online. Small groups and Bible Studies are canceled. And yet, God has prepared us for this by giving us a way to talk to anyone we want around the world through social media and Virtual Reality.
So, why limit your church to a building, your group to your home, or your Bible Study to a room in the Sunday School wing of your church? Like Esther, we don’t need to stay silent. The Gospel is continuing. God is asking us to be faithful in using these tools to reach out to people online, build trust, and develop friendships. In this era where TP is being hoarded, we can shower our communities with the love of Christ.
I am available to help churches and individuals interested in making disciples and wishing to continue church even as we experience historical fear and panic as the globe begins to shut down. We don’t want our older people marginalized because technology scares them or they don’t understand or like it, and we don’t want to be on social media out of boredom, scrolling, and sharing, without any real thought or purpose. While the building shuts down, here are some tips to continue sharing the Gospel:
- Bible Studies: Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Discord can be used to lead a video Bible Study like your face-to-face. This is an opportunity to invite people in your community to join. Hold them during times when the rest of your community can join you, too. Think of the working class in your planning.
- Small Groups: Your small groups are going to need your continued support as we face the challenges of this period of history. Use Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Discord to continue meeting. As you meet people locally online, invite them to join you. When the church opens again, you may find them meeting you in person.
- Church on Saturday or Sunday: Virtual Reality has church every weekend through Altspacevr. Your church may use Youtube, Facebook, or IGTV to do your worship service. Instead of treating your online service as a pulpit, treat it as a coffee shop. Ask people questions. Pray with your words for people so they can read it and pray with you. Worship with your words in the chat. Share the live feed to local Facebook groups or invite someone to join you in a “watch party”.
- Socializing: You can use almost any video gaming system to play video games with people from across the world.
Check out WorldVenture’s Facebook page for more tech tips. I’ve been sharing there since Saturday.