Church planting in a pandemic.
What is it like planting a church in a pandemic? In a word, it is challenging. How do you engage a community when you can't engage with the community? This whole time of pandemic has been a confusing and challenging time. I've been fighting to be creative in my ideas. I've been stretching myself outside of my comfort zone with creating online content and a website. I don't know what I am doing, I am simply hoping and praying God will bless the effort I've put into this.
Thankfully I have been able to continue with my online training and work with NAMB. (The North American Mission Board) But from what I have gathered from other planters, this is not easy for any church plant or plant team. The overwhelming sentiment is a resounding shoulder shrug when asked "How can we plant churches right now?" We are all in this same boat as church planters. It is the stage of "Now what?" What do we do to minister to the communities our hearts are shattering over? How do we share the gospel when we aren't supposed to leave our homes? How am I supposed to act in my calling to plant a church when I can't gather with anyone?
We are cowboys on an unknown frontier. Shooting from the hip and trusting God. And really, this is how it should be. Total reliance on God. Our calling was never to "know" how this would all work out. We weren't called to do block parties, or host events. Our calling was never to start a trendy gathering where people come and hang out. Our calling is to make disciples. This calling has not changed. We are to go into all the world and make disciples. Building the Kingdom of God was never about how many people we could pack into a room. It will always be about how many people are saved through the Gospel!
Now hear me out, I am not saying this time of pandemic is ideal. Surely it is not. To be unable to gather corporately is a devastating blow to the Church of God. However, this is nothing new to the Church. Through our existence, we have been a persecuted people. Having to hide and be unable to meet in large groups for fear of being discovered. Still the Church has always continued on in it's mission to make disciples. And so must we.
As I think about how to plant a church during this time of isolation and sickness, I feel the Lord lay on my heart the same mission we have been on for over two thousand years. Make disciples. I may not be able to look for a venue, or host block parties and mission teams, but by the grace of God, I can still make a disciple in my community. I am attempting to reach out through online platforms and share the gospel that way, but I am also praying for God to give me one person from Lead to be able to reach and disciple.
This time may not be great for the large-scale church plant, but it is great for the large-scale mission of Christ!
Go! Make disciples!