In times of unprecedented change, it is crucial that we maintain our footing on things that do not change. As we grapple with the daily news, the influx of opinions on social media, the unknowns about the future and our proper response, I think it's important for us as believers to review our responsibilities. Our worship services have been put on hold, our weekly rhythms have been interrupted, and our planned church calendar is gathering dust. But our responsibilities remain the same, in principle, as they did before the pandemic.
The Church's Responsibilities
In writing about the "church," I am speaking of those who are involved in decision-making for the body we call Graceway Baptist Church. On a day-by-day, administrative basis, that is me as the pastor. However, I make many of those decisions in collaboration with Pastor Isaak and the deacons. Ultimately, decisions that affect the course of the church are made by the membership. Therefore, we all have a share in the responsibilities of the church. Our church motto is a helpful guide in reminding us of our responsibilities: Loving Truth, Loving Others.
As we encounter the conflicting waves of information, worldviews, and conspiracies, this pandemic is an opportunity for us to value truth like never before. We don't value truth above God. (Deut. 6:5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.) However, we recognize that God is the source of all truth. (John 14:6 I am the way, and the truth, and the life.) Our responsibility is to point each other (and outsiders) to the God of
truth. We do so by leading each other in worship. While we cannot do so in person at this time, we are attempting to be faithful by providing streaming services on Sunday morning, and we encourage you to participate in worship in your own home and then live a life of worship throughout your week.
As we point others to the God of truth, we must also facilitate growth in the truth. We are currently doing this not only by preaching, but also by hosting our Second Hour Bible Study on Sundays, our Bible Study on Thursday evenings, and our Doctrinal Workshops. A small group of members are also working on digitizing the Foundations discipleship course, which will be a useful tool in helping people grow in their Christian walk. It is during times of pressure that we grow most in our faith and it is important that we help one another in that growth.
Prov. 23:23 Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
Love is an attribute of God (I John 4:8). Therefore, the body of Christ ought to be known as those who extend God's love to those around them. As a church, we ought to be willing to facilitate care for others. During this pandemic, that means caring for others' financial needs. It involves caring for both the physical and and spiritual aspects of man. Even as we contemplate what it means to reopen our doors (we're not there yet), we are prioritizing the health and safety of our attendees. We're also considering how to care for people in the midst of the anxiety and fear that will inevitably be present. We need to love one another even in the midst of differing opinions/approaches on COVID-19. To gather or not, to wear a mask or not, how best to serve one another, etc.
These are the responsibilities of the church as the body of Christ. In most ways, they have not changed. But we are being asked to think about them in a different context. Let's consider how we might work together in carrying out the responsibilities of the body. Next week, I hope to address the Christian's responsibilities on a more personal level.