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How ministry is continuing during COVID-19

Good news from SBC churches

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June 1, 2020

Later this week, the Southern Baptist Convention will host an event, SBC Advance, designed to tell “the story of what God is doing through our churches,” according to Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC Executive Committee. Likewise, SBC President J.D. Greear said the event is designed to remind us of who we are, “a convention of more than 47,500 churches that stand for the Gospel above all and the need to get the message of Jesus Christ to the nations."

This event, I’m confident, is designed at least in part to encourage churches. That’s because life in a pandemic is challenging in and of itself, but perhaps even more so for pastors—who face many of the same challenges as others do but at the same time carry enormous burdens for those they shepherd and the churches they serve. As difficult as this season can be, though, we shouldn’t be surprised  when Jesus meets us in our time of need with grace and blessing. And in many cases, that’s exactly what we’ve seen.

At the ERLC, we have the privilege to be in conversation with churches every day. Often, we receive front-row seats to the stories of God’s grace in the lives of local congregations. We get to hear and rejoice with churches who are not only surviving but seeing God move in new and exciting ways. It may be that you’re in a place where you feel weary or empty, uncertain if bad news is lurking around the next corner. It may be that it could be good for your soul to see how God is moving in the midst of this time. If so, allow us to share some of these encouraging stories with you.

Benevolence

One of the most encouraging things we continue to hear from churches is how local congregations are coming together to meet the needs of others in new and exciting ways. Here are a handful of accounts we’ve received in recent days.

Community

Churches continue to share with us stories of pastors knowing their people’s gifts and seeking to mobilize them to meet needs. They have also recounted how many of their people were already serving, whether sewing masks, donating supplies, delivering meals, or checking in on the isolated and vulnerable.

Ministry opportunities

Ministry needs often arise in response to unforeseen circumstances, and a pandemic certainly qualifies. Here are some of the encouraging ministry advances we’ve heard of just over the last few weeks.

Relief efforts

Again and again, Southern Baptists show that when disaster and danger strike, they’ll be the first on the ground to help and the last to leave. Not surprisingly, the same has shown itself to be true in the midst of this pandemic. Here are a few stories we’ve heard along these lines:

Nashville-area pastor Scott Sauls recently noted how “long term changes necessary to lead in an environment will probably require a certain level of sensitivity to this virus for quite some time.” If that’s true, and a “return to normal” is further into the future than we might hope, our hope is that stories like these might be a small encouragement and reminder of God’s mercy and the power of his Spirit in the lives his people.

Daniel Patterson

Daniel Patterson serves as Vice President for Operations and Chief of Staff at the ERLC. In these roles, he directs the executive office of the president, public relations, and helps drive operations across the organization. He completed an MDiv and PhD in systematic theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He … Read More