Great preacher and writer Tim Keller has been speaking to Premier about the pandemic. Founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York – the worst hit place by the pandemic so far, Tim believes it will be hard to pastor when the virus is over, with a large of percentage of congregations out of work, or having experienced devastation, or even got used to ‘doing’ church by YouTube or Zoom.
“I think that almost all churches and non-profits are going to be in a position where there’ll be more to do but there’ll be less financial resources…that’s going to be a problem for ministry leaders everywhere in the country and in the world.”
He compared it to the attack on the Twin Towers and the aftershock then: “After 9/11, which had a huge impact on the city in a way you didn’t see in the rest of the country or the world, it took several weeks at least for us to figure out at our church ‘what does this mean for us in the future?’ We can’t go on with business as usual. We have to find out ‘what is God calling us to be?’ and it can’t be the same. I think that will emerge and I don’t think it’s easy to tell.”
And yet the opportunities to share Jesus will be incredible. I’m frustrated that ‘getting at’ people suffering is impossible, as Jesus heals. Yes, there’ll be opportunities to pray online, but there’s nothing as effective as face to face and arm around someone. Jesus never said ‘lay your hands on the sick and catch what they’ve got’ – but laying hands on a tv screen has only worked once to my knowledge with a friend, Dennis, who was healed of chronic ME.
I love to sit with people, even if only for a few minutes, get to know them, identify and empathise with them, and then see God do a miracle. People will seek God – and are seeking God – as a result of corona, but meeting together, however small the group, is much more effective and relational.There will be zoom, skype, and You Tube fruit, though…!
I’m looking forward to being back ‘on the road’ and back in planes going to people and seeing the miracles first hand. What I do feel is the enemy is going to regret coronavirus – while he might be thinking now he’s winning, his victory is going to be short lived and the Kingdom of Heaven will be extended exponentially, if Christians are willing to sustain the workers.
My own personal income continues to fall – not hugely now like at first as it was very close to Brexit when corona ‘broke’ – but having put my faith in God’s provision 41 years ago, I don’t have any other option now – and DON’T WANT any other option than God providing through his body. At 67, and with gammy legs, and currently with one arm(!!!) I’m probably not terribly employable.
Church, if we want to capitalise on Satan’s ‘mistake’, those of us in ministry need you more than ever. I’m praying that the pandemic will be over in time to go to Colombia in the summer, and then make up for lost time from then on!
I’d value prayer for the provision of a home – the enemy’s stuck his grubby little mitts in the provision of a house, and as a result, my life has been on ‘hold’ for the past year. I’m so grateful for the lovely hospitality I’ve had here in Wales since last July, but I do need my own place, and my home needs to be set free from it’s ‘garage’ prison where it’s been for a year too! If it has survived the Welsh winter rains! And I’m praying for an increase in regular support to replace what I’ve lost – with no church meetings (and so no offerings!) I’m ‘down’ about 50-60% since the start of the year. Bless you!!