This article is part 1 of a complete guide for missions during COVID-19.
1. Each crisis creates significant challenges.
Challenges are part of life. Due to many factors, a challenge may be more evident in the lives of some than others, but truth is we all face challenges on a daily basis. A crisis creates significant challenges which tend to affect a greater percentage of the population. Most in our communities, and even in the church, will look upon challenges as problems.
Our current crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, has both created new problems and heightened existing problems. This is true for any crisis we may experience. Some challenges are unique to the crisis (i.e., clean up and renovation of homes during the Arkansas River flood or the removal of trees following a tornado). Other challenges, though not unique to a crisis, are experienced by people who prior to that crisis did not experience that challenge. Before COVID-19, local medical professionals were not fearful of having sufficient PPEs to enable them to care for people safely. A shortage of PPEs during COVID-19 has created many new problems for medical professionals that did not exist prior. Although hunger has always been a challenge for many in our communities, especially children, this current crisis has created a new hunger challenge as schools are no longer open. Many children depended on breakfast and lunch at school for their daily nourishment. Some school districts continue to provide breakfast and lunch for students; however, other districts are not able to provide this service. This is a new challenge to an existing problem.
2. Not only does a crisis create significant challenges, but it also creates significant missional opportunities for the local church.
Every challenge creates a problem and every problem creates an opportunity.
As the church, we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus at all times. During “normal” seasons, the church may invest many hours of research into identifying real needs in the community followed by days, weeks, or even months of strategizing how best to meet that need. When a crisis occurs, the church has a unique opportunity to respond to needs that are readily identifiable, experienced by many in the community, and call for an immediate response. Every problem creates significant missional opportunities for the local church.
3. During a crisis, needs tend to change frequently.
Every need does not have the same shelf life. What is a need today may not be a need next month or even next week. This truth requires two actions the church must be prepared to make if we want to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our community in a time of crisis. In the next article, we explore these two actions.