Is The Church In Crisis?

This past Sunday, ironically, at my church, we were scheduled to teach from The Core, Lesson 11.  The title for Lesson 11 is “Go To Church.”  The Memory Verse is, “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together.”

  • How do I teach “Go To Church” when the church doors are closed?
  • How do I help families and kids stay connected during this time of social distancing?

To say the church is facing a universal crisis is an understatement.

The Coronavirus crisis has caused me to pause and think about the early church in the book of Acts.

In Mark 16, Jesus told His disciples to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone.”

Did Peter, James and the other disciples listen to Jesus? Not really.

Yes, they preached the Gospel, but only to Jews.

As far as we know Christianity did not exist outside of Jerusalem in the first few years of its existence.

Everything changed following the stoning of Stephen. “A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all believers except the apostles were scattered through regions of Judea and Samaria.”

  • Did God bring this persecution on the church?
  • Did God cause Stephen to be stoned to death?

Absolutely not!  Jesus said, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that you might have life and life in abundance.

The enemy’s plan was to wipe out the church through this persecution. To destroy the church in it’s infancy. But the enemy always overplays his hand. The end result was that believers were scattered to other nations and the Gospel was preached around the world.

Could that be what is happening today? Are we watching the church reinvent itself?

Think about it.

  • Every church in the world is being forced to rethink, “How do we do church?”
  • Every church is having to ask, “How do we assemble together – online?”  

As soon as the President said, “No social gatherings over 10 people,” everybody knew what we had to do.

It has been incredible watching the church universal rise up and meet this challenge. Personally, it’s been fun and exhilarating to gather my staff and leadership team to create an online infrastructure for kids and families in six short days. I love watching parents and kids worship together at home in front of their TV screens. I don’t know about you, but I thrive in moments like this.

Here’s the bottom line:

  • We will reach more people for Christ because of this massive push of the Gospel to the online community. 
  • We will reach people in great numbers that may never have entered a church.
  • We will reach people we never would have reached and that gets me excited.

Yes, the world is in crisis, but make no mistake about it. This is an opportunity for the church!  In the words of Joshua and Caleb, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”

How are you rising up to meet this challenge?

Mark Harper

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