The near-term COVID-19 response presents a challenge and opportunity for today’s church in terms of our mission to provide holistic and locally present engagement in our place. For churches and their leaders to do this well, they must take four key steps:
- Acquire a biblical framework
- Analyze the situation
- Assess History
- Apply Missional Guardrails
Here’s what I mean:
Acquire a biblical framework
We are Christ’s church and we have been given a commandment and a commission. This commandment is to love one another—to love all of the diverse anothers wherever God has us. We have been given the commission to take the message of the gospel to all people, to see them transformed by the grace of God, and then in turn, commission them as agents of reconciliation.
Analyze the situation
There are many voices attempting to help leaders in all domains discern what’s happening and how best to respond. The challenge is that many of these attempts to analyze the moment differ. Wise leaders today will have to do the hard work of seeking truth at the moment and knowing how to do what is best for the people they serve.
Plagues and disease have been normative for the church throughout history. In each case, the church and its leaders have leaned into pain and brokenness and provided care for the sick. While we may have assumed that such a challenge would never befall today’s church, we are once again given a chance to demonstrate the gospel in a time of crisis.
Apply Missional Guardrails
I like to apply the F.A.I.T.H. acronym to help leaders think through this moment. First, we need to assess the church’s finances in order to discern how best to care for our people and those in our community. Through strategic financial care, the church can use God’s resources to be a blessing to those hurting today. Next, we need awareness of the needs and rhythms of our local community and the state-wide challenges since each locale presents different challenges. Thirdly, we need to consider innovative ways to bless our city through meaningful partnership with those non-profits and governmental leaders bringing aid to those in need. Fourthly, we must consider togetherness in the near-term. Leaders must find ways to foster connection through digital means and small group settings. Finally, we need to consider ways to build healing—particularly at the unique intersection between COVID-19 and the racial turmoil of our day.
Check out this video to hear more from D.A.