POSSIBLE POSITIVE OUTCOMES FOR THE CHURCH AFTER COVID-19

As the coronavirus continues to ravage communities and the world at large, it is difficult to foresee the future or any positive outcomes for the church of Jesus Christ. In this series of articles, I would like to suggest a few possible positive outcomes after the lockdown. My hope is that these articles might help us to prepare well for life after COVID-19.

I believe there is going to be a greater appreciation for fellowship among the faithful people of God. Before we go on, let me emphasize; this greater appreciation for biblical church life will happen only among the people of God. Talk to any pastor today, one of the most discouraging things in pastoral ministry is a lack of faithfulness in attendance. Our world is hugely distracted. Priorities are all over the place. It takes very little for many of God’s people to abandon church gatherings on a Sunday morning. All the reasons that would have been inconceivable as reasons for missing fellowship a century ago seem to settle well with our generation. A Christian today can miss church because of shopping, laundry, studies, cooking, a minor headache, attending a wedding, visiting the sick, and many petty excuses. One of the reasons this happens is because we have become so familiar with this sacred institution that we now make light of it. We know we can drop it this Sunday and pick it up the next day. We think church gatherings will always be there, waiting for us.  

I believe there is going to be a greater appreciation for our freedom of worship. It is one thing to have the freedom to come and go as you please. It is another to have that liberty taken away from you. Knowing that even if you wanted to go to church, you would not be able to do so. You have been mandated to shut down the church doors with no precise date in sight for re-opening. For genuine believers, who have a clear understanding of the purpose of the gathering of God’s people, having this freedom taken from them is a big deal. There is a greater appreciation for church meetings among the persecuted church than those with total freedom to gather for worship weekly. There are millions of believers today who would do anything in their power to gather with fellow Christians for worship. For these believers, gathering for worship is risking one’s life. Today this freedom has been taken away from us. I hope there is going to be a greater appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy. 

I believe there is going to be a greater appreciation for the one-another ministry. Serious Christians are genuinely concerned about holding fast the confession of their hope in Christ. But they do this through face to face Sunday gathering and fellowship with other saints. False Christians settle for showing up at the church gathering to appease the conscious, sold to dead religion. Given a chance not to gather, they would take that gladly. False professors will accept any church cancellation gladly, with very little sorrow or resistance. Not so with God’s people; the people of the Lord know that to hold fast to the confession, they need the ministry of others. They need faithful pulpit ministry, corporate prayer, and to celebrate the Lord’s supper within the corporate gathering. The faithful know that they need to join voices with other saints in praise to the Lord Almighty, the King of all creation. Today millions of Christians across the world may be yearning to return to public worship, to be with fellow saints. Soon they will return with a renewed appreciation of Hebrews 10:23 – 25, the gathering of the saints. 

Today we have been shut out and cannot gather or see our brothers and sisters face to face. One way we “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering” is by considering one another and steering one another unto good works. As the saying goes, out of sight, out of love. It is undoubtedly hard to consider those we don’t meet often. When we gather faithfully with other believers, we have the opportunity to hear of and see their needs. Many believers take this opportunity of helping others for granted; maybe they keep putting it off. During this lockdown, we are being reminded that we should make use of every opportunity we have to be a blessing to others. We are learning now that these opportunities will not always be there. It is a possible outcome that at the end of the lockdown, many of us will make use of every opportunity to bless someone in our congregation. 

Those who have no pleasure in gathering with the saints now have no business to look forward to the final gathering with the Lamb of God. There is a high possibility that the coronavirus lockdown has reminded God’s people of the temporary nature of our gathering. That one day, we will no longer gather here, but with the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Maranatha! 

This article was first published on this site  on April 11, 2020.

Written By Pastor Malamulo Chindongo of Antioch Baptist Church in Blantyre Malawi,  where he has been laboring since 2008. Author of Rethinking Guy/Girl Relationships 

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