Gospel Moments - R.E. Martinez
“What is your church doing about the COVID-19?” This was a question that a friend recently asked me, and I had no action-planned answer. After all, I have only been a senior pastor for an entire six-weeks now! Talk about a rookie wake-up call! So what did I do? I called a pastor friend of mine – yes… I did.
I am already realizing that as a new pastor, a moment like this is just the beginning of my pastoral ministry experience. Truthfully, I have no real answers based on any experience whatsoever. Every pastor goes through their first head-on collision with moments like this in their initial ministry experiences. Yet, while I do not have “senior pastor” ministry experience to draw from, I am almost certain that God uses every moment in life and ministry for gospel advance. In this case, with the international scare and moments of uncertainty and fears going viral (if I can use that term), there is no doubt that this moment should be used as a gospel-moment. Please let me briefly explain what I mean.
Every ministry opportunity that comes our way, is never free of a presumed or actual problem (in any form or fashion). In other words, gospel ministry is always going to be on the frontline and context of some form of spiritual or natural conflict in life. Take for instance this current pandemic that the world is facing right now, namely the Corona Virus. Certainly, this moment should not be taken lightly or be regarded as a joke on any level. On the opposite side of the spectrum, we should not be guilty of causing fear or hysteria in any way neither. As an example, I do not believe that those who are canceling their Sunday services, in response to the current situation are doing so out of fear or hysteria. Nor do I believe that those who are choosing not to cancel their Sunday services (at this point) are guilty of underestimating the situation.
These moments, historically speaking, have always been gospel-moments.
Each ministry is taking this moment and looking for ways to advance the gospel. And that is the point! These moments that God has allowed us to minister ought to be used as opportunities to further the gospel of Jesus Christ. The church has always been wise enough, by God’s grace, to adjust, re-position, accommodate, and take action in these moments. These moments, historically speaking, have always been gospel-moments.
In the middle of my rookie-ness (if that is a word), I am excited to be able to see God’s hand do great things through his people at this moment. There is no reason or excuse that we can give (at this moment, or any other), for not loving, giving, sharing, becoming generous, and flat out pointing people to Jesus! Every moment that God gives us is to be redeemed, stewarded, and used for His glory (Ephesians 5:16, 1 Corinthians 4:2, 1 Corinthians 10:31), and this moment is no exception! If we become guilty of focusing on why one church is wrong for canceling their services, or another being wrong for not canceling, we will also become guilty of missing the opportunity to focus solely on this gospel moment. That is not what we are called to do now, nor ever.
This is who we are – we are people of the gospel. This moment should be used for no other reason than to point people to the one God who can deliver them from something far greater than any virus or circumstance that comes their way. The lost ought to see the church rallying together in so many different gospel-centered ways! These moments will continue to come our way and the church will continue to adapt, adjust and figure out ways in which it can better minister the gospel to the lost. Ministering to people with the life-changing message and power of the gospel is what we do in these moments! It is characteristic of the church to do so – nothing less and certainly nothing more in these gospel moments that God has allowed us to encounter.
These moments will continue to come our way and the church will continue to adapt, adjust and figure out ways in which it can better minister the gospel to the lost.