Until recently, the words “unprecedented” and “pandemic” were not typically part of our everyday language. The terminology “gone viral” has assumed a much broader meaning than simply a popular social media post or YouTube video. You also find yourself facing a plethora of choices—previously irrelevant or nonexistent.
- Do we close our churches or stagger our service times, so we have fewer people, who must sit six feet apart?
- Do we offer drive-in church with formal communion elements or encourage our congregants to stay home and use their crackers and grape juice?
- Do we offer real-time, live-streamed worship and sermons or prerecord everything for a later airing?
- Do we broadcast via Facebook, YouTube, and our church website or use something like the Zoom platform for a more personal touch?
- Should we strongly emphasis tithing and giving to our church or encourage sowing into and serving the disenfranchised in our community? Does the choice need to be either/or? Can’t we embrace both/and?
- Should we open our churches as a venue for a grieving family to celebrate the life of their loved one or encourage them to have a small, graveside gathering and postpone the larger service until . . .?
- What about your family, should you socially distance to protect them like you stay six feet away from next-door neighbors and other grocery store customers, or do you have a big family dinner, inviting the whole gang to celebrate the resurrection?
Undoubtedly, you could fill the page with many “unprecedented” choices you’re facing, while trying to remain faithful in your calling to pastor and shepherd precious congregants.
In the Old Testament, Joshua knew God’s people were entering a new season with unparalleled choices, which would test their covenanted faithfulness to the Lord. Their devoted leader rehearsed God’s faithfulness and past deliverances then Joshua challenged the Israelites with these words:
“Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14–15 NASB).
Our primary choice is foundational for all other decisions we face—“As for me and my church, we will serve the Lord!” As you commune with Christ through prayer, studying the Word, and worship, Holy Spirit will lead, guide, and anoint you to continue pursuing the Great Commission, empowered by Great Commandment love that respects government and church authority, lovingly speaks the truth, and impacts a watching world through every available avenue.
In the late 1950’s, an Italian couple, named Alessandro and Edi, rejected physicians’ advice to end a pregnancy because their child was expected to be born with a disability. From a young age, this gift from God (Psalm 127:3), whom they “chose” to love and embrace, suffered with congenital glaucoma. He began taking piano lessons at age six and later played flute and saxophone. At age 12, their son became totally blind after suffering a brain hemorrhage as the result of a soccer accident. Undeterred by his lack of sight, he studied law at the University of Pisa while singing to finance his education. After obtaining his degree, he practiced law as a state-appointed attorney for a year before deciding on a musical career and studying voice.
Fast forward to 2020, and this Italian, farm boy, attorney, and infamous tenor stood alone on Easter Sunday, April 12th, and performed an incredibly special solo concert at Milan’s famed Duomo cathedral. Titled “Music for Hope,” the event saw the legendary opera singer Andre Bocelli send out a message of “love, healing, and hope to Italy and the world” amidst a global pandemic.
Your choice to love and serve the Lord matters!
‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND . . . YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF’ (Matthew 22:37, 39 NASB).
Not only are you touching lives today, but you are affecting generations to come. Let us encourage you to continue offering a message of love, healing, and hope to a hurting and broken world!