How can we care for God’s flock during COVID-19?
We might not even realise, but the negative outlook of COVID-19 could have planted a seed of doubt in many. Doubts like: If God is sovereign and real, why isn’t He victorious over COVID-19?
There might also be others who are struggling with the disruptions to their routine and the isolation stemming from social distancing.
Whether you’re a cell group or ministry leader, here are four ways you can continue to guide those under your care and help them guard against unhealthy thoughts.
1. ENGAGE YOUR PEOPLE IN REAL CONVERSATIONS
Encourage your members to share vulnerably about how they’re coping spiritually during this season. All of us have moments when our assurance in Him may be wavering, so let’s be ready to offer a listening ear to those who might be questioning.
In John 6, the crowd had just witnessed Jesus perform incredible miracles. With five loaves of bread and two fish, He fed 5,000 hungry men. He also defied nature and walked on water.
But instead of responding in faith, they responded in doubt: “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?” (John 6:30)
Jesus’ reply points to what would be helpful in knowing Him – spiritual hunger and thirst.
Discourage your flock from running on auto-pilot. God can use what seems like a down time to build us up into stronger believers and deepen our intimacy with Him.
Here are some questions to help facilitate your conversations:
- On a scale of 1-10, how well are you coping with the changes?
- And as you deal with all that’s happening, what do you find yourself telling God or saying to others?
- How are these changes bringing you closer to God or hindering your walk with Him?
- How open is your heart to allowing God to move through unconventional means like this?
- What dreams do you have?
- How can you continue to grow and allow God to equip you during this season?
2. HOLD FAST TO THE WORD OF GOD
In a time when we’re stripped bare of the physical and structural components of a church, we realise that indeed, the things of this world will one day fade.
And there’s truly only one thing that will remain – the Word of God (Isaiah 40:8).
The isolation that we face from being unable to gather physically brings to mind the Apostle Paul, where he had to live in solitude with only a soldier to guard him (Acts 28:16).
Despite the isolation and persecution that he faced because of the faith, he continued to preach the good news despite the setbacks (Acts 28:17-31).
But Paul could only do so because the Word of God had been inscribed on his heart. Despite being stripped of his possessions, rights and comfort, God’s Word remained in him.
As we look to the life of Apostle Paul, now’s a good season to challenge our people to re-evaluate the foundation of their faith and maintain spiritual disciplines such as reading the Bible.
3. KEEP ONE ANOTHER ACCOUNTABLE
With church services going online and many other distractions in our home competing for our attention, it’s important for our spiritual communities to double up as accountability groups as well.
Besides locking in time for regular online cell groups, think about rounding up members to watch services together via online meeting platforms. You could even go the extra mile by sharing your screens, so that it feels like we’re all in the service together!
4. CARE THROUGH CREATIVE MEANS
It’s paramount that we try our best to bridge the gap that’s missing when we meet online – the human touch that only face-to-face meetings can offer.
Here are just some fun ways to show care:
- If you know that your cell group member is going through a difficult time, arrange to have their comfort food sent right to their doorstep.
- If it’s your member’s birthday, schedule a time for the cake to be delivered to them ahead of your online meeting and take the chance to celebrate their birthday during the call. You can also send an e-birthday card or do it the good ol’ traditional way through post!
- To encourage your members to continue growing in this season and not fall into idleness, buy them a book and have it delivered to them.
As the nation makes effort to keep COVID-19 under control, let’s keep seeking out God’s heart for the Church in this season. In doing so, we can better guide His flock to navigate the path ahead.
I’m truly excited to see what God is going to do in the lives of His people. Let’s continue to be faithful as shepherds over His flock and to remember that He is the chief shepherd (Psalm 23:1).
THINK + TALK
- How well do you know your cell group members or ministry mates?
- What are some of other ways we can build closeness as a community in this season?
- Are you able to share vulnerably in your community? If not, why?