By Bob Weeks
When I first heard that we were to ‘hunker down” due to COVID-19, I welcomed it. I thought it would be like a snow day, unplanned time to spend with my family. It comes unexpectedly and leaves quickly. Boy, was I wrong.
As the epic nature of the pandemic began to force new realities on me I became concerned for the churches, especially those in the under 150 category. You see, when a snowstorm strikes Indiana on a Sunday we can watch our Cooperative Program giving fall as the snow falls. You would think that it would bounce back the next week as God’s people returned to corporate worship after the snow emergency subsides. But it doesn’t happen that way. So, I expected great downturns in our giving as week after week the church could not gather. I do not know what every church is doing but in the one I serve as Interim, boy, was I wrong.
The Church Treasurer just reported that we finished the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering last week. She told me that we exceeded our goal by over $500! And it was also reported that yes, we are down some compared to last year in General Fund receipts, but all of it is related to one wealthy family moving away at the end of 2019.
The church has risen to the occasion. Even though it is harder right now to be financially faithful, the people of God, the church has done that very thing. I have to say it again. Boy, was I wrong.
There is at least one more thing I was wrong about. I thought this little church that is five miles from the nearest Coke machine will never be able to hang together and do worship online. Before Covid-19, they had online audio of their pastor’s messages that were posted a few days after the message was preached. In fact, the message I preached right before the quarantine was announced had two views. Two. And one of the views was me – I listened to critique myself.
Then the virus hit. Like all of our churches, it was “put worship online or just don’t meet.” So online we went. My message from April 19th had 902 views. (The church has about 125 that attend). I had comments from Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Florida. The deacons are taking CDs of the message to our older generation. Together, at different times and locations, God’s people are WORSHIPPING! ONLINE!! Boy, was I wrong.
My appreciation for the Bride of Christ has blossomed during this time. The Church is not closed up. She is alive and well! If the Enemy thought, he could damage the Bride with all of this virus mess he is wrong… and I was too. I am thankful for forgiveness and for the Church!!