By Tim Maynard
On December 26, 2004 a 9.1 magnitude underwater earthquake created a tsunami that swept away almost 228,000 lives in Indonesia. Even those not directly affected by the impact of the flood waters have been impacted by the memory of the impact.
Events like the Indonesian tsunami change the way we look at the world. Many nations lost citizens in that tsunami.
The Coronavirus of 2020 (we pray just 2020) will likewise enter our collective memories and consciousness from now on. This “tsunami virus” has swept away hundreds of thousands of lives in multiple nations as well. It has changed our lives for the foreseeable future.
The church is not exempted from those changes. If we understand ourselves as the incarnate presence of Jesus, the Body of Christ, we should not expect to be exempt from it, any more than Jesus was exempt from suffering.
But how do we respond? How do we lead in this time of tsunami-like change? I’m no expert, but I’m continuing to lean into a few things I believe are extremely important for church leaders:
We are continuing to provide CONTINUITY. That is a challenge and requires creativity. We are encouraging our folks to worship “separately together” through Livestream and radio broadcasts, as well as through Zoom Bible studies and home groups.
We are continuing to CARE. People are afraid, confused, and uncertain about many things. We try hard to stay connected with people, especially the vulnerable, through online and phone interactions. Our small groups are invaluable to keep us aware of
needs in their networks. We are also caring for our community. Easter Sunday our church delivered meals for area first responders and hospital workers. We have an unprecedented opportunity to show Christ’s compassion during this time.
We are continuing to COMMUNICATE. Often. Through various outlets. Using every means at our disposal: social media, phone calls, and even snail mail! Communicate often and well.
The world will not be the same following this experience. Neither will the church. My prayer is that the church will be better!
Tim Maynard is the senior pastor of Fruit Cove Baptist Church in Fruit Cove, Florida.