Interesting days we’ve had so far, right? We could discuss the politics of it all, the economic impact, the healthcare side of things. Maybe those things are all worth talking about, but something else has my attention right now.
That would be the church, and I do not mean the building.
The Coronavirus has done a ton of damage, and it isn’t done yet if we’re being realistic. While it’s impacted what I listed above, and more, it’s greatly impacted the church in ways we could miss if we’re not careful, and they aren’t all negative.
- Yes, giving is a challenge right now. That matters.
- Yes, the lack of fellowship has an impact. That matters.
- Yes, there is work to be done with trying to bring a church service to the church body, virtually. That matters.
But something interesting is happening underneath all of that on an individual basis. A whole lot of people are seeing a whole lot about their walk with the Lord that had been hiding behind church activity.
Before I go on, here’s what I’m NOT saying –
- You shouldn’t miss fellowship with other believers.
- You shouldn’t be so involved in serving at / with your church.
- It’s not a big deal that we can’t worship and hear the Word together in person.
- Church doesn’t really matter, you can do all that from home alone.
- There’s something wrong with your walk if you miss going to church.
But, here’s what I AM saying –
If you are finding that your walk is seriously challenged, suffering and/or fading because you don’t have the accountability of walking into a church building a couple times a week, that’s something that needs to be brought before the Lord. I say that as someone who was taught this lesson 2 years ago.
I came to a point where I realized the main thing holding me accountable to living a righteous life was coming to church. I didn’t want to teach or lead worship feeling like a hypocrite so I resisted certain temptations. While God certainly used that for what it needed to be during that time, I realized I had fooled myself into thinking that I was living righteously simply because I was showing up. My actions painted the right picture, but my heart was not aligned with and accountable to the Lord at all.
The truth is even if everything changed and I no longer worked in full-time ministry, my own personal walk with the Lord in the secret place should be my primary accountability and motivation to live righteously.
And I think what’s happening right now in the church at large is people are realizing – or avoiding realizing – that their focus has been on the church and church activity more than Jesus Himself. We’re missing the opportunity to BE the church while we can’t be IN the church.
Does this apply to everyone? Of course not. Does this diminish the importance of fellowship and serving? Absolutely not. Is it worth contemplating? Well, it definitely has been for me.
Growth comes from things that happen in and through the church, there is no denying that. However, God does not need those things to grow you. This lovely little quarantine we find ourselves in can be a great time to get with God and realign your heart to His; to have time of silence – which is the antithesis of everything the world stands for (sometimes even the church) – and find rest in it with Him; to get into the Word on your own and give God time and space to speak directly to your heart.
Oh, the silence. I struggle with silence, and am constantly sucked into the busyness of life. I hadn’t realized how much I was allowing the busyness to get in the way of my walk with the Lord until it stopped. In these days, I am welcoming the empty schedule, limited social time and silence. My mind has been basking in the time to decompress, and my heart is reaching for the Lord. I think I’m looking at a new norm forming here thanks to this craziness.
Anyway, what I’m saying really comes down to this: the circumstances we find ourselves in courtesy of COVID-19 have the potential to make stronger believers – and therefore churches – out of us if we’ll get real with ourselves during this time instead of being frantic, frenzied people.
P.S. Anthony Evans put out a beautiful track on this topic silence and it’s been looping in my head as I type this…listen here >>