We are living in unprecedented times. Here in the UK the government is gradually locking down society to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. Our situation is paralleled in some countries, while we watch other countries facing the greater storm that is just breaking here.
As pastors, ministers, church leaders and preachers, we need to be very confident in God’s Word as we plunge into a global crisis. We need to be confident that it is God-breathed, useful/profitable, and thoroughly equipping (2Tim.3:16-17). We need to be confident that it is able to comfort, to encourage, to challenge, to bring light in darkness, and so on. We need to be confident that it mediates the presence of God, so that when the Bible speaks, God speaks (it is more than a record of what God has spoken).
Here are seven spheres for our confidence in God’s Word to show:
1. Be confident in God’s Word for restoring your soul – you can do ministry fuelled by adrenaline, but not for long enough, nor well enough. Like Mary in Luke 10, let Jesus minister to you before you minister for Him.
2. Be confident in God’s Word for leading your family – many of us will be experiencing full-time life at home with the whole family. A recipe for tension and struggle? Possibly. But remember that your family needs your leadership, and your best leadership will involve bringing perspective, hope, and stability from God’s Word.
3. Be confident in God’s Word for encouraging believers – the church is not a group of people that receive ministry from you. The church is a gathering of ministers, a team of priests, each with their opportunities to influence, to lead, and to give to others. Some will be facing grief. Some will be overwhelmed by their work at the hospital. Some will be facing massive financial loss. Some will be struggling with “little stuff” like tensions at home over “nothing.” All need to be encouraged by the best fuel for the soul – God’s Word.
4. Be confident in God’s Word for giving hope to the lost – unprecedented national and global crisis means a planet full of people with their standard complacency and confidence shaken. This is an opportunity for people to realise and discover their need for something more than they can build for themselves in stable times. So of course we want to offer help and provide selfless and sacrificial service to our communities. But what they need more than anything is for us to give reason for our hope, to pray for opportunities and then spell out the good news whenever we can.
5. Be confident in God’s Word for the health of your (now online) church – Many of us are learning very quickly how to do church services and home groups online, not to mention prayer gatherings, online devotionals, WhatsApp group chats, etc. So we don’t have access to buildings, we can’t meet in person, we can’t visit people in their homes, and a whole host of other things we normally rely on. All may be changing, but God’s Word is still the vital staple in your church’s diet. Look for ways to share God’s Word with people, and encourage them to share it with each other.
6. Be confident in God’s Word in the midst of a crisis – It is tempting in a crisis to default to offering purely practical help, or to fall into personal tendencies (some will be very good at sharing despair, others are experts at making everything party political, still others seem to think the world needs their version of denial). In a crisis people need God’s Word. It is not chained. Trust it. Share it.
7. Be confident in God’s Word as you pray – We are facing unprecedented times (for us), but God is not new to times of pestilence, of plague, of grief, of fear, etc. Trust God’s Word to help you find the words you need as you pray for yourself, your family, your church, your community, your nation and this world.
What would you add? What passages are comforting and encouraging you?
Here is a link to the latest short, no-frills, no sermonic polish, Bible reading highlight that I have started offering on YouTube. Please take a look at some of these short videos and if you find them helpful, please share with others. Thanks.