It’s no secret COVID-19 is changing the way people carry out daily activities. Yet, across the globe, people have learned to adjust and find creative ways to accomplish tasks and further relationships. For believers, a pandemic does not change the mission of reaching people for Jesus. It simply changes how we achieve that mission during this season.
So, how can the body of Christ engage our crisis-centered world full of people eager to latch onto something (or Someone) that will not let go?
Relationships are foundational
A crisis comes and goes. New products are old the next day. Systems often change. Yet, amid the ever-changing world are the people God places in our lives. Why do people feel alone in isolation? Why can’t people wait to get back to their workplace, ballgames, and concerts? Because the Creator of the universe created us for community. Genesis 2:18 (ESV) says, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’” These days, in the midst of a crowed online presence, there is a high possibility people are still feeling lonely. Activity does not replace intimacy. While getting “back to the office” is important, don’t miss the precious time you have with your spouse and children right now.
Serving people well is crucial because relationships are foundational. Whether people want to admit it or not, they long for that text. They long for the phone call after a lengthy, hard day. They long for an extra measure of thoughtfulness coming in the form of an unexpected home-cooked meal delivered on their doorstep. They want people to continue to encourage them to the finish line. Judy Harmon, an Auxiliary from Valley Center, California, found this to be true recently when she and other members reached out to a few other Auxiliary who are widows. She says, “We have embraced the need for prayer, and we are having daily [virtual] prayer meetings at 7 a.m. Concerning our widows, some of whom live alone, we are providing a daily time where they can be encouraged. This also allows ladies to pray for what is concerning them the most since we cannot physically meet.”
Use Available Tools
To serve well in this season, people like Judy have found the importance of using the available tools at hand. Right now, “Meet me at the coffee shop in ten minutes,” may not be the best way of ministering to people. For some, it may not be an option at all. Yet, people still have hardships and needs. This is why finding creative ways to serve people during COVID-19 is so important.
For believers, a pandemic does not change the mission of reaching people for Jesus.
One of the tools provided by The Gideons International is GideonCards—a simple, fun, and strategic way to minister to others and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. By visiting SendTheWord.org, anyone can send a physical card or an e-card with a word of encouragement. With every GideonCard you send, your donation provides for Bibles and Testaments to be distributed around the world, for free, by The Gideons. Think about the impact of the moment when you are told, “Remember when you sent me that card in the mail…” This is just one of many ways to reach the people you love with hope and inspiration.
Other ways may include inviting your neighbor to stream your church’s worship service with you and your family. Or, finding a unique way to connect with the high school senior and his or her family who just found out graduation will be different this year. No matter the circumstances, there are available tools for you to use to reach people. We never know on this side of eternity what a simple act of kindness did in someone’s life.
remember the end goal
Serving is about faithful obedience and not selfish gain. When Christians serve, God can use this as an avenue to point people to Himself. God desires an intimate relationship with his most prized possession—you and me. Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” You may be the vehicle God is using to reach someone in His name.
When Christians serve, God can use this as an avenue to point people to Himself.
Norma, an Auxiliary from Ohio, realized this as she was dining in a local restaurant one day. A woman came up to her and said, “Do you remember me?” The lady didn’t offer anything else, just the question. Norma recognized the woman, if only slightly. “You do look familiar,” she replied. “It’s been a while,” the woman began. “We met in this very restaurant two years ago. It’s a day I’ll never forget.
The woman continued, “You came up to me and asked if I went to church here. I didn’t. You didn’t get mad; you were patient. You offered me a Testament provided by The Gideons, and I was blessed to take it. Together, we reviewed the Helps section and God’s plan of salvation. I accepted the Lord as my Savior and signed the back of the Testament that night. After rejoicing together, we went our separate ways, and I’ll never forget you saying, ‘See you in Heaven.’ I felt so much love and peace that night.”
As a result, the woman started reading Scripture, then going to church. Soon, her husband and kids came with her. The woman then told Norma, “I just want you to know that you changed my life by handing me that Testament. Because of you, my whole family is in Church. We’re all believers—thank you.”
The encounter between Norma and the woman is an excellent reminder that the end goal of faithfully serving is the glory of God and the expansion of His Kingdom. COVID-19 can’t stop this mission—it may just cause serving to look a little different.