Today, I received a letter from Steve Douglass, the President of CRU. It struck me as extremely wise and practical. He was writing to all staff and alumni of the ministry and trying to encourage ministry leaders. You will find it below without any changes.
[Message from Steve Douglass]
I love you and am praying for you as we face some very challenging times together. The COVID-19 crisis has significantly changed how we conduct our lives and ministries, hasn’t it? And it is unclear how long it will last at such a high level of negative impact.
You are already hearing a great deal on how to keep safe and be responsible. But what are some things we can and should be doing as Christians in ministry? Let me briefly touch on three overall answers to that question:
1. Deal With Fears
This crisis can easily take a toll on us personally. So, a good starting point is to deal with our fears and then help others deal with their fears. (See the second P.S. at the end of this letter to give you one brief thought on this topic.)
2. Pray For Miracles
Most of us aren’t health experts or knowledgeable in curbing the spread of pandemics. However, the relationship we all have with God empowers us to pray for miracles that could slow down, and even stop, the spread of the virus and the impact it has on lives. So, one of the great services we as Christians can provide is to ask God to intervene dramatically in the crisis. Often unbelievers will tolerate and even appreciate prayer during a crisis.
3. Minister Differently
No one wanted this crisis to happen, but now that it is here, it opens a wide door to ministry. People know that they and people they love could experience serious consequences. So, as is true in crises, people are much more open than usual to hearing about a relationship with God who can give them peace, protection, etc. We need to find and implement ways to step into those opportunities through different strategies, training and resources.
For example, if students aren’t present on campus for a while, we need to find new ways to win, build and send them. A higher percentage of our ministering will be by phone and digital means versus one-on-one and group meetings. Bigger meetings will likely take place more by digital methods than by traveling to conferences, etc.
This crisis should not “put us out of business.” It should force us to change and improve. (See the first P.S. below.)
I encourage you to be a part of that process. Be open. Try new things. Learn from others. And please share what you learn with others.
Yours in Christ,
President of CRU
P.S. Let me point you to two helpful resources:1. The “Ministry From a Distance” ideas proposed by the Global Digital Strategies team.2. A 2-minute recording I did for the Making Your Life Count radio program on dealing with fears.
Deal with fears.
Pray for miracles.
That is sound advice. For me, all those empty shelves in the stores and all the stories of hoarding is a graphic picture of the shallowness of the world’s hope apart from the gospel. Look for opportunities to declare the gospel and call people to repent and believe in Christ, the only real hope of mankind.
Don’t you wish that people, even Christians, were as quick to share gospel as they are to share news about covid-19? Afterall, covid-19 is deadly to 3% of the population exposed but sin is 100% lethal and we have the remedy!