Looking for Hope? Here Are a Few Stories of the Church Making a Difference
There’s no shortage of news on the coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, and those headlines can sometimes leave you feeling a little hopeless. But for every grim news article you’ve seen circling Facebook, there are untold stories of people helping people. Of the Church making a difference. Of neighbors banding together to serve and support one another. So if you’re looking for hope, you’ve come to the right place. Our church, Life.Church, put together just a few stories of how the church is being the church, and it’ll leave you feeling hope-filled about how God can work all things together for good—even the most uncertain, scary circumstances.
Here’s the really important thing before we move on, though. These aren’t just stories of what pastors did. These are stories of how the Church collectively came together to meet needs in their communities. Because here’s the deal. The Church isn’t a building. It’s a people. And it’s not just certain people. It’s every person who trusts and follows Jesus. And if you follow Jesus—that includes you. You don’t have to be a pastor or achieve a certain status to make a difference.
These stories we shared? It was everyday, ordinary people who chose to think of others before themselves. It was a collection of people—families, college students, teenagers, people from all situations—who chose to live out Paul’s words in Philippians 2:3-5 NLT: Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
We are living in some unprecedented times. This COVID-19 pandemic is scary for all of us, and it’s easy to question your faith or worry about what’s going to happen. But the good news is that God isn’t surprised by what’s happening around us, and He promises always to be with us through it all. And as Pastor Craig Groeschel says, “When the world gets darker, the light of Jesus shines brighter.” It’s in these uncertain times that the Church has an opportunity to step up and show others what it looks like to follow Jesus.
We have an opportunity to show people how to live by faith, not by fear. We have an opportunity to show others the reason for the hope we have. While we’ll absolutely be wise and follow the guidelines from our government and health officials, we will also actively look for ways we can safely serve those around us.
Many of us may still be socially distancing ourselves from one another, but that doesn’t stop us from spiritually connecting with one another. We can video chat. We can ask people what they need. If you’re healthy, you can offer to pick up groceries for elderly or immunocompromised neighbors or friends.
Look for the needs in your community and meet those needs. Church looks a little different right now. We may not be physically present, but that doesn’t mean we’re spiritually absent. If you look back in the early Church, you’ll see that it wasn’t about where they met. They were passionately devoted to Jesus and committed to serving those around them. Here’s what we know about the early Church that informs how we, the Church, can live today:
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47 NLT
If you follow Jesus, you are a part of the Church. And as the Church, we all have a part to play in sharing the good news of Jesus, serving our neighbors, and meeting needs.
Back to those exciting stories. Everyday people, like you and me, woke up and decided that they could serve those around them. And they did. There’s a lot of news about COVID-19. But we, as the Church, will choose to focus not on our fear but to live by faith, and to play a part in the story God is writing. Whether that means writing a letter, calling or video chatting with a friend, inviting someone to Church Online, delivering groceries, praying for those affected by COVID-19, or partnering with a Local Missions Partner in your area, we all have a part to play.
What story will you tell?