In this season, my schedule as a traveling evangelist has been put on hold due to the pandemic. Two weeks ago I was ministering in Australia, and before this we were in Denmark and Ecuador. We came back to the USA on March 16th as our president introduced social distancing. We did not have to self quarantine, but I am thankful that I was able to return home before everything shut down.
The world has changed forever. Nothing is the same anymore, schools, entertainment, sports etc. are being shot down, while we are told to shelter in place in our community, staying at home as much as possible, only leaving the house when it’s needed. We keep hearing the word “essential”. Only essential businesses will be open, like grocery stores, doctors offices, fastfood restaurants and … the list is long!
The Gospel Must Be Preached
So now we are here in Orlando, waiting for the plaque to pass by, and in this season the church is essential. People are desperate, laying sleepless at night, turning to drugs and alcohol or even suicide because they are fearfull and hopeless. The world is still waiting for God’s children to be revealed and the good news to be preached. We cannot sit idle, we have a calling on our lives to be servants and witnesses of Christ. Our challenge is to find out what this looks like “in such a time as this”, not to act out of fear, but to keep the faith.
This we do as much as we can. Even though we don’t have our traditional church services, we had our first drive in service on March 29. We will not neglect the gathering of the saints, we can still meet up to 10 people to worship and pray and live stream our services, and we must still reach out to the community and feed the poor, which we do even more in this season.
What Are The Guidelines
Last week we called the Orlando Police Department to get guidelines in the current lock down. It provoked me that the churches are closed, while the store next door still can sell Coca Cola and snacks. Is church not more essential than Dollar General?, I asked.
The lady on the phone gave me a link to the Orange County website, stating that “this Order does not limit religious or funeral services at any location, but all persons leading, performing or attending religious or funeral services are urged to fully comply with all measures advised by the CDC, including limiting gatherings to not more than ten (10) people and practicing social distancing of at least six (6) feet between persons.”
Essential workers includes workers who support food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, such as those residing in shelters, which also includes the church!
Hot Meals Every Night
I don’t know what other churches are doing in this season, but this week Powerhouse Church in Orlando have started a “soup to go” kitchen for our community, so that nobody have to worry about the necessities of life as long as the county is under lock down. Last night was our first night. People came walking, riding on bicycles and driving in cars for a hot meal made with love. We didn’t do a lot of advertising, but still we served 55 meals the first night and many more to come.
This is how we fight our battles. We pray, we worship, we stand on the Word and we feed the poor. We are the church, and in this season we have church, every time two or three are gathered, when we feed the poor from our soup kitchen. We are there for the people, sharing the good news in a time of much sorrow and distress. Serving God and serving people, that is still what we do.