By President Randall A. Bach
It was not too long ago that we learned about a virus that first appeared in Wuhan, China. Then in the course of but a few weeks, COVID-19, a specific strain of coronavirus, exploded around the world and is now referred to as a pandemic.
Because not much was known about its full health ramifications, because few tests existed for it, and because no vaccine has yet been developed for the coronavirus, health authorities published guidelines that are founded on the principle of containment. Everything from social distance to sanitation practices have been emphasized as ways to help contain the virus. I am not a doomsday purveyor of fear, but I believe it is quite possible that we are looking into our future, a future where an increasingly interconnected world (or an enemy) easily transmits new diseases on a global scale for which we are not prepared. We are confronted by concerns over personal health, education, commerce, economy, transportation, supplies of food and other staples, the gathering of church bodies, and beyond. The coronavirus pandemic could be a dress rehearsal for the future. Surely the time for Christ’s return is approaching.
On a daily basis we learn about the changing landscape of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Each adjustment in health and government officials’ tactics and edicts requires individuals, businesses, schools, churches, and other organizations to determine how to cooperatively respond.
From the first days of the New Testament the Church, the body of Christ, has adapted to changes in government, cultural climate, hardships, and persecution. The Church is God’s creation. It is under His ownership. And it will continue until He concludes it is time for Christ’s return.
Open Bible Churches encourages affiliated churches to cooperate with health and government officials in the containment strategy to defeat COVID-19.
- We encourage churches to see not just sacrifice but also recognize opportunity to discover fresh approaches to engage and minister to their communities.
- We encourage churches to be a voice of hope and ambassadors for Christ in the midst of public concerns and fears.
- We encourage churches to minister to the needs of people who are afflicted in any way by this pandemic.
- We encourage churches to be a mighty force of prayer focused on defeating the virus, healing for people whose health and lives are threatened by infection, and relief for people whose jobs and personal incomes are affected.
- We encourage churches to prayerfully look for innovations to keep their people connected in relationship and ministry during limits on the size of physical gatherings and to discover avenues to receive tithes and offerings that are not dependent on offerings from people in pews.
We stand united in faith, resolve, prayer, and upon the promise of God’s Word: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT).