Crisis - A Time of Opportunity!
Crisis, a time of opportunity? An opportunity for what? History has proven that when people are in crisis, they are most vulnerable and insecure. This state of insecurity and lack of stability makes them most susceptible to being influenced by new ideas, and it creates a willingness to change. A crisis upsets people’s equilibrium, their comfort, their status quo, and increases their willingness to change to something new and different from their culture and custom.
This is seen most clearly in displaced people groups around the world, like the many refugee groups that have sprung up in many places. It is a known fact in missiology that mission takes place most successfully in these displaced people groups where a crisis like famine or war has forced them out of the comfort of their homes and traditions, into the new, uncertain, and scary unknown, separate from their traditional customs and familiar surroundings. This change brings about an openness to the Gospel, especially when it goes hand-in-hand with practical, tangible Christianity.
How does this relate to the Coronavirus crisis that we are presently experiencing around the world? People are stressed, fearful, and uncertain about the future. Experts are responding to questions, with phrases like “This is something new,” “We’ve never in our lifetime experienced anything like this,” “We just don’t know,” “We just have to do our best, and hope for the best.” These are not very comforting responses, especially when they come from the smartest and best experts in the world. One says, “Wear a mask.” The other says, “No, you don’t have to.” Who do you believe?
What opportunity is there for the church of God in this crisis? I believe God is calling you and me to be His hands, His feet, and His voice in a time like this. I believe this is a time for us to speak the words of Christ to fearful, anxiety-filled hearts, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NIV). To those worried that they will run out of food and vital necessities, He says, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear” (Matthew 6:25 NLT). To those worried that they will die, Paul’s example is brimming with faith when he says, “If we live, we live for the Lord; if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8 NET). And to those who fear the future or doubt their salvation, He says, “Because of His grace He made us right in His sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life” (Titus 3:7 NLT).
A crisis is a time of opportunity for evangelism – when Christ can share His Good News to a society that is anxious and stressed. How are we going to do that? Firstly, by our everyday example of service and willingness to help those who are vulnerable in our community. This may be sharing a prepared meal with a neighbor, offering to do shopping for an elderly person, making PPEs for your local care providers. (Thank you, Bags of Love ladies, for helping to make masks for our local hospital!)
Secondly, as part of our evangelistic invitation to our community, we have signed on to support and be part of the It Is Written evangelistic online campaign, starting on Friday, April 17. The campaign is called “Revelation Today: Hope Awakens,” and the speaker is host of the It Is Written broadcasts, Pastor John Bradshaw. It will focus on Bible answers for the immediate crisis; finding hope in what looks like a very hopeless crisis. It will be presented over four weeks, with four presentations each week: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, at 7 p.m. I will be sending you an email with the details how to connect, so you can send it to your friends and invite them to watch it, too.
This is exciting! God has provided a way for us to still do evangelism even when we have to stay home. You may be wondering, “But how can I be involved?” and “How can I help?” Here’s how. It Is Written will train you to be an online Bible worker, to send and answer emails from interested persons in your community, while staying at home, in front of your computer, or even on your smartphone. So, if you are willing to be trained and willing to help to be a people encourager for the Lord online, then let me know you and I will add you to our trainee list.
I am so excited about the possibilities for touching people’s lives right here in McMinnville during this crisis. Prayerfully consider being part of this exciting venture for God. Stay tuned for more info coming soon.