The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every community and every element of our society. Businesses, schools, organizations and even parks, are closed if they don’t provide what is considered an essential service. Most people are sheltered in place, while those that do get out are forced to practice social distancing.
The pandemic has impacted our medical system to the point that the demand for medical supplies and personal protection equipment outweighs the supply. However, after understanding how great the need was, many stepped up to creatively meet the demand. Factories retooled assembly lines, university classrooms manufactured face shields, and individuals sewed masks. It’s inspiring to see people get so creative in order to meet the need of others.
Years ago, from about AD 249-262, the Plague of Cyprian was a pandemic that spread throughout the Roman Empire. It too, impacted every element of society and killed as many as 5,000 people per day in Rome. During that time, the early church stepped up and effectively ministered when disease incapacitated a city. So many people turned away from paganism because they saw how the church ministered to the poor and sick during that crisis!
I believe the same could happen today if the world sees the church ministering during this crisis rather than only protecting itself. God is calling us to minister during this difficult time of crises so that people turn from lostness to Him. Doing so, will require creativity on the part of the church, just as it did the factories and universities. Let me encourage you to prayerfully consider how you will step up during this crisis and effectively meet needs while practicing social distancing and adhering to the guidelines given us by our elected officials.
So how does the church serve as a witness for Christ and minister during these difficult days when there are so many restrictions needed to protect us, and others, from the virus? Here are some ideas to consider:
- Prepare and deliver meals for those that can’t get out.
- Deliver needed supplies to the front porch of the elderly and most vulnerable.
- Sew masks for frontline workers.
- Leave a simple card on front doors that says, “Hello! If you are self-isolating, let me know how I can help.” Include your name and contact information.
- Serve as the host for a blood drive as blood is in short supply.
- Encourage medical personnel on the front lines with meals, thank you cards and prayers.
- Provide childcare for hospital staff members and first responders since day cares are closed.
- Deliver meals prepared by the local school to children receiving lunches as transportation may be a need.
- Take baked goods to neighbors and ask them if there’s anything you can do for them.
- Create videos of hope and place them on social media as an encouragement to others.
- Provide a sense of connection to those in quarantine. If video calling isn’t an option, consider standing outside their storm door on the phone so they can see, as well as hear you.
- Call a frontline worker and offer to pray for them.
- Serve grab-and-go meals for the homeless while teaching social distancing and sharing hygiene tips.
- Children can write Bible verses and encouraging messages with sidewalk chalk on driveways in their neighborhood.
What will you do to minister during COVID-19? The need for the church to step up and meet the need of the community has never been greater. Seek the Lord about how you can creatively press into this situation in strategic ways for the sake of His Kingdom.