It hasn’t been too many weeks ago that I would have said our current situation would never happen. And, yet, here we are in what for most of us is unprecedented times. The vast majority of us have no experience navigating these kinds of treacherous waters. The seemingly ever increasing COVID – 19 pandemic often feels like it is going to pull all of us under.
On the other hand, I am more than convinced that God was not caught off guard by all of this. He was not surprised. He is still on His throne and in control of the universe. And He knows exactly what He is doing.
The question is what will we do. In the midst of this crisis, some very interesting things have been taking place. For example, with a huge number of churches now live streaming their Sunday morning worship service, we may actually be getting the Gospel message to more people than ever before. Along that line, live streaming our worship services provides an easy “invite” opportunity. Church folks who may have been trying to get unchurched family or friends to join us at church can now direct those folks to the live stream. That would be an easy way to get someone better acquainted with the church and how we do things. A third example is pastors and staff across the state have been more engaged in checking in with church members to see what needs may exist. In other words, this crisis may very well be enhancing a church’s ministry. I could go on but suffice it to say that God is using this difficult time in some very powerful and positive ways.
That doesn’t mean that I want this situation to continue much longer. After all, there are some aspects of church that just can’t be duplicated online. We need to gather with other believers. We need to worship with other believers. We need to serve with other believers. And, quite honestly, we need the positive influence of seeing others participate in giving and tithing to the local church.
In fact, I think one of the things that is going to happen to churches the most during this season, is a reduction of giving. Many people have lost their jobs. If they don’t work, they don’t get paid. If they don’t get paid, they can’t give to the church. Others are fearful that our economy will continue its free fall and they are trying to hang on to every dollar they can. And because none of us know how long this is going to last, we don’t know how to plan financially.
If I could be bold, I would like to remind you that giving to the local church is not a financial decision. It is a Spiritual decision. Regardless of how much money we have or don’t have, giving to the church is an act of obedient faith not fulfilling a payment schedule. So, I would respectfully challenge all of you to continue to give Biblically. Those dollars will be necessary for the church to continue to meet her financial obligations.
Let me close by encouraging you to keep the faith. God is a good, good Father. He loves you. He cares about you. He has an incredible purpose for you to fulfill. Keep your eyes on Him and trust Him with all you have.
Dr. Joe Ligon