As countries tentatively start to lift restrictions, workplaces start to reopen and soon churches, how are we to respond as it is clear we won’t and shouldn’t revert back to our old habits within the church and how we reach out to the world.
First and foremost church a church is not a building but the people who meet up together to worship Him as we see in Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” [ESV]
There will no doubt be social distancing rules in place, resulting in a number of services taking place over the weekend. There will be people reluctant to attend a church service out of fear of contracting Covid-19, while others will like the idea of being an ‘armchair attendee’.
Churches will need to be mindful that they will need to carry-on their online activities which they have started due to the lockdown measures, as there will be many new people to the church for whatever reason(s) will have started to engage with the online church and may not be ready to physically visit a church.
I would like to focus on those who would prefer to be an armchair attendee, in Hebrews 10:24-25 the writer writes “24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” [ESV] We are called to be accountable to each other, and where necessary to challenge behaviour which goes against Scripture, this cannot be achieved if we don’t meet up, fellowship together and share Holy Communion. As we see the earlier believers in Acts 2:42 met up in fellowship and broke bread, which is what Jesus taught the Apostles and they taught the new followers of Christ.
Another reason which I strongly agree with in today’s society, is when we don’t meet up together there is a huge risk of believing incorrect teachings, doctrine which we see on our social media feeds. As we’re more likely to follow people, online preachers who we consider to be ‘like us’, and because all our ‘online friends’ follow and agree with us we may follow the proverbial crowd and deviate from Christ teachings and potentially fall into a sinful lifestyle.
As Paul warned Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:1-4 “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” [ESV] When we first read this text we may think that it was meant for those who deliberately turn away from the Scripture and find preachers, friends etc. to suit their lifestyle, beliefs. We need to remember Satan is devious and uses subtle forms of attack, so when we think it’s okay not to attend church because…… (fill in your own reasons) how do you know your not going to if not already turn to false preachers and false doctrine?
This coming week, seek the Lord and ask him how he wants his church to move forward and start to pray for it, and more importantly how are you to move forward post lockdown with your life.
All Bible verse, quotes and links were taken from http://www.biblegateway.com