The Church Must Be Ready For Endemic

The Church Must Be Ready For Endemic

Pastor Vincent - 25 September 2021

Weekend Devotion: The Church Must Be Ready For Endemic

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I think with daily COVID infected cases easily surpassing a thousand nowadays, it is not alarming to hear someone we know got infected or received a Quarantined Order. With 80 over percent of our population vaccinated and fatality rate brought to almost 0.1%, COVID 19 can be deemed as a common flu. And moreover, looking at how our country is handling the situation now, it is clearly an obvious move toward endemic.


However, it is one thing to know that we should treat COVID19 as endemic, it is another for the church to really be ready to do so. With most people, after a long one and a half year with the pandemic, the mentality of most will still perceive someone infected as highly dangerous or to be shunned. Being infected with COVID 19 will still be deemed as a serious matter, as if the person was struck with a serious disease. And therefore, there is a high-level of stress for churches to open or for the open ones to stay open.


But let me just encourage all of us here with the word of God, in case we’ve been too absorbed with what has been reported all over the news. First, the bible has encouraged all of us to be faithful in meeting (Heb 10:25). Next, the bible has shown us that many who come to Jesus went through faithful risk-taking. Whether it’s the blind, the crippled, those stricken with leprosy, they risk the reproaches of men when they seek our Lord Jesus for healing.


Now, we are definitely not told to recklessly take risk, but we are definitely commanded to engage in faithful risk-taking. We risk because of our faith in God. We risk because we know obedience is commanded. We risk to gather physically to sustain our faith. Now, throughout the pandemic, many believers really saw the value of going to church. And some churches began to open their churches despite the rising cases.


Is that reckless? No!


In fact, I would say that’s faithful risk-taking.


And I saw that God went on to test the faith of his faithful ones, when infected cases increase exponentially in the community in recent days. And despite that, there are believers who doesn’t flinch. And same for some of the churches. And they deserve the Lord’s commendation. Yet, how should the Church ride through this reality now, especially when cases keep increasing? My answer to that is the church must be ready for the endemic, and the sooner the better. Yet practically speaking, what does it mean to be ready for endemic? Now, I’m offering 3 point of views here.


The Church must start to open its doors widely to whoever who wishes to attend service. Cell group must be resumed, and number of services must be increased. Churches must no longer treat coming to church as a disputable matter, leaving it to the choice of the believers. Churches must encourage all members to start coming back to services, meetings and serve in different capacities. The stance of the church in encouraging meetings will make all the difference in helping believers to strengthen their feeble arms and weak knees (Heb 4:12). What has been made weak in the past one and a half year must be made strong once again.


Next, the church must be ready for infected cases, or to find people tested positive shortly after attending meetings. Now, I am not saying that this will definitely happen, but we must be ready for that to happen. It must not be seen as surprising, considering the number of infected cases in the community now, especially with many who are asymptomatic. Such incidents must not be seen as unfortunate, but rather common. We must know that the church is a spiritual institution that functions through weekly meeting. So it is not for us to make stupid claims or declarations like: “If you have faith, you will not get the virus”. In fact, we should say to our brethren: “Blessed are you to be in church even when there is a possibility that you might be infected”. In this sense, “faith” must be seen to reap the commendation of God, instead of a “virus protection talisman”. So just as we pray for believers in the church to be protected mentally and physically, we must also pray for believers to overcome the fear of virus through faith, and to even live with the virus. And if someone happens to be infected. Fear not! Just pray for the infected person and his family. Encourage them, and be ready to accept them back into the church when they’ve recovered. Because only then can the church get back to normal functioning. i.e. to open the church, to present the gospel boldly, and to invite friends and relatives to church freely. Now, I believe if all these are done in good faith and obedience to God, we will see an overwhelming response from our good God. Yet, we are however not suggesting recklessness. We must still constantly wear our mask properly in church.  


Finally, how should the church be ready for endemic?

Now, some of us might see this as an opinion. But I just like to share what the Lord has impressed upon my heart throughout this one and a half year. If there is one emphasis by God that we’ve gotten through this pandemic, I would say God could be telling His church to stay small. Now, the reason why church congregations should stay small is so that we can be accountable, and learn to serve one another. In fact, we don’t have megachurches in the early church. During then, the believers gather and broke bread in each other’s home. Everyone knew each other. Everyone was accountable to each other. Everyone was being served and also learn to serve. As such, the Church might need to rethink about the megachurch model which is a growing phenomenon in this generation. When you have thousands upon thousands in the church, ask what is it for? What good can it be when people conveniently attend a Church Sunday Service and leave without committing themselves to the Church? When churches make it so easy for churchgoers to do that, it breeds pseudo Christianity. But what if a church continues to grow in numbers? My take is then the church should spilt into smaller congregations. The church should put its focus on the quality of preaching and shepherding, instead of developing new ideas and programs to draw in bigger crowd. In fact, the pandemic has put all that to a halt. Now, many may not agree with what I’ve presented here. But that’s for the churches of God to think through. Let’s seriously think through what does it mean for the church to be ready for endemic. If we are going back to the old ways, then we haven’t learnt anything, and we’ve suffered the pandemic for nothing.

Pastor Vincent Choo

Vincent is the Senior Pastor of The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) and is an ardent missionary to the Chinese World. He currently lives in Singapore with his wife, Qiufen, and has three kids, Mary, David, and Caleb.

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