Over the past two weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot of how Christians throughout history understood their responsibility to care for the sick and dying, rather than running for the hills like so many of their pagan neighbors. In many ways, the earliest Christians were the earliest first-responders, risking their own lives and even losing them, because of what they believed about Christ, about their own lives, about the salvation and love of neighbor, and about human dignity.
In our cultural moment, one in which God has graciously given us knowledge of mitigating the spread of disease as well as the distinctly Christian legacy of hospitals, the love of neighbor involves things such as social distancing so as not to endanger others. But does that mean we disengage completely? How should Christians love their neighbors at this time?
Almost from the start of this coronavirus threat, even before it was called a pandemic, Dr. Ed Stetzer of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College and Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church have been working to gather resources and equip pastors and ministry leaders for this challenge. They, in partnership with others have launched a new website, CoronavirusAndTheChurch.com.
These resources are helping churches and pastors with everything from developing online worship and education, to communicating with and caring for their own people, to reaching out to the most vulnerable in their communities, including the elderly, sick, and unemployed. And they are collecting stories of innovative things that are already being done, by Christians, right now.
Tomorrow night, Tuesday March 31 at 8 PM Eastern Time, Ed Stetzer will join me for a free webinar “How Christians Can Love Their Neighbors During the Coronavirus.” Though this webinar is the first session of a 5-part short course on responding to our culture’s brokenness, we are also offering it completely free to anyone, even if they are not signed up for the rest of the course.
This webinar is for anyone who wants to know how to make a difference in the midst of this crisis, and how Christians are already making a difference taking the love of Christ and the message of salvation to our culture right now.
If you’re not available at 8pm eastern tomorrow, sign up anyway. The session will be recorded and everyone who registers will receive a link to the video afterward.
During this free webinar, Ed and I will be discussing best practices, some of which have been developed in just the past few weeks by Christ followers from across the country. And Christians are doing this – today. We’ve already shared examples on Breakpoint of Chinese Christians, who despite fierce persecution by their own government, passed out face masks and ensured that strangers were supplied with food. Or an Alabama megachurch, that already had a huge medical clinic ministry, that turned its parking lot into a Coronavirus testing center.
And of course, my favorite story to date, is of how a YWAM base here in my backyard of Colorado Springs pivoted on a dime, from a business-as-ministry operation training folks around the world to an organization mobilizing churches and Christians in their own community. With lettuce. If you missed that story, come to BreakPoint.org to hear my conversation with director Josh Imhoff on our BreakPoint podcast.
In Acts 17, as Paul describes the one true God to the pagan Epicureans and Stoics, and he declared that God determines the exact times in which people live and the boundaries of their dwelling places. In other words, it’s no accident that we find ourselves in this time in history, in the cultures and communities where many of us are “locked down.” Our faith and these circumstances are not accidental. God has placed us in this moment, in this place, to be the hands and feet of Christ in this world at this time.
Please come to BreakPoint.org today to register for this Free Webinar with Ed Stetzer: “How Christians Can Love Their Neighbors During the Coronavirus.”
John Stonestreet & Josh Imhoff | BreakPoint Podcast | March 25, 2020
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