What Happens When the Church Moves

October is Minsitry Appreciation Month and we want to celebrate all of those who have made an impact on our lives and our faith journeys. The church has overcome immense obstacles this season, and it has been truly inspiring to see so many believers come together outside of the walls of the church.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (I Corinthians 12:27 NIV)

As believers, we are often reminded that the church is not a building, but it is the body of believers within the building. We know this to be true, because we are the hands and feet of Jesus going out into the world, but have you ever seen a more shining example of this than in the past six months? Church buildings closed all over the country, traditional services were no longer allowed to meet in person, Bible studies went virtual, small groups could no longer meet in homes. And the church moved.

Street churches started popping up in neighborhoods where neighbors were able to gather outside safely. Virtual Bible studies and community groups started Facebook groups and scheduled Zoom calls. Tech teams at churches around the nation put in countless hours to learn and set up the technology that allowed their congregation to tune into church from home on Sunday mornings. Parades wound through the streets to recognize hard-working pastors and celebrate birthdays and big life events. Instead of the traditional meal train for someone who had a baby or lost a loved one, meal delivery services were sent into overdrive because of the outpouring of love from friends and neighbors.

Easter Sunday was celebrated in living rooms and backyards everywhere. People came together in ways that they never would’ve had the opportunity to before. Early morning prayer groups started in neighborhoods, with friends walking together outside and praying over their lives and the lives of those around them. Greeting cards were sent all over the country to encourage and love on others. Youth pastors went above and beyond to ensure that their kids were safe and healthy when youth group wasn’t an option. People showed up for their elderly neighbors and loved ones, bringing them groceries and meals and showing them they were loved.

We never could have imagined a time in our lives when the physical doors of the church were closed, but we lived through it. And we learned a very valuable lesson – what happens when the church moves, is that God moves. When the church was out in a neighborhood, bringing strangers together, God was moving. When the church was spending time out of their week to meet virtually, God was moving. When the church was making meals and delivering groceries and making signs for drive by parades, God was moving. When the church was sending cards full of God’s Word to people all over the world, God was moving.

As we enter into Ministry Appreciation Month and beyond, let us not forget this time in our lives. Let us appreciate the people that have ministered to us throughout our lives. Let us continue going out into the world and sharing God’s love. Let us continue allowing God to move, no matter where we are.

Below are a few stories about how churches have gotten creative during this time while their doors haven’t been open.

Our Children’s Church Director loves the kids in our church so much and has really tried to maintain that community over the last several months. She has been able to find a few creative ways to keep us parents on track to make Sunday school lessons available for the kids in addition to our virtual sessions as a church. At the beginning of each month, she leaves a bag at the church that has all of the supplies needed for each lesson that month (handouts, craft supplies, etc.) to do the Sunday school lessons at home with our kids so they’re all able to stay on track at home. If we aren’t able to pick them up, she delivers them to our front porch. She has also started a Facebook group for us and our children to stay connected during this time and video lessons for each week where she helps walk us through the lesson. Her heart for the kids and the longing to teach the next generation about Jesus shines through – even though the kids aren’t able to meet together in person. (Tricia)

We were three weeks into an 8-week marriage course when the pandemic hit and our class was forced to become virtual. We really loved meeting each week and had really hit it off with our group and leaders, so it was disappointing to only be able to meet via Zoom. We continued the class virtually, touching base as often as we could and setting up plans for that someday when we would be able to all safely meet in person again, and truly enjoyed the class so much even from afar. The pastors at our church were so gracious, setting up socially distanced meetings with us one-on-one – we were getting married in June – and we were still able to go through all of our pre-marital counseling. The most fun part? On our honeymoon, we ended up running into both our marriage group leaders and another couple from our group on the beach and finally get that in-person meeting! (Jordan)

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