Editorial

The Church Displaced, The Church Dispersed

By

Perhaps like me you’ve found these recent weeks to be a strange concoction of life. Fears lurk in every headline, while true peace is available to hearts. We’ve never washed our hands more often while being so doubtful that they’re truly clean. Relationships have been disrupted—we’re suddenly distanced from so many while being confined to limited space with so few. Work teams have been dispersed yet, for some, never felt so connected.

I’ve heard many leaders say in these days, “Let’s not waste this crisis.” These times are too tumultuous, too historic, too odd to be missed.

As I’ve been in contact with many in our Alliance family—and as you’ll read in the pages of this condensed issue—stories abound of your family fully engaging this monumental moment. Food distributed. Mercy shown. Music written. Love expressed. The Church displaced becomes the Church dispersed. The crisis is not being “wasted” by the Church. The people of God once again step into opportunities others avoid.

Yet, the story line—deeper and longer lasting than the latest headline—is strangely interwoven with a design we’ve not seen in our lifetimes. Overcrowded hospitals with underequipped staff provide a form of heroism. Pastors who’ve never recorded a message or had a social media account now find themselves on Facebook. Congregants who’ve only given through an offering plate now discover the benefit of recurring, online giving.

Even the fact that I’ve mixed life-threatening hospital situations with online giving trends further evidences my point. The concoction of the elements marking this moment are strange indeed.

As you read these pages, I have a couple requests: Celebrate with me the way that God is at work in and through His people. Second, prayerfully consider how He may be stirring you to respond in this moment.

Sometimes I wander into an unfamiliar place: the kitchen. I pull spices from racks and grab ingredients without the aid of a recipe. I wonder to myself, “Has anyone ever put together this concoction before?” After a sip or a bite, I have my own answer: “If they did, they probably only did it once.” 

This moment is a strange mix, never to be repeated. However, let’s not pass it by as some random concoction of events. A bigger story is being written. Let’s not miss our part in it.

11 responses to The Church Displaced, The Church Dispersed

  1. I have never been part of the church’s technical team. But due to my location, our house just a block away from the church, I found myself to help in the livestream team. It has been a great experience so far, and I realized how amazing it is that God allowed me to have an interest in editing my small travel clips when we were still free to travel around. It just clicked to me when the pandemic was declared and news of the new normal was spreading that God has been preparing me for this sudden ministry opportunity.

  2. Many many lessons learned. As always, whether positive or negative, we make the best with what we’ve learned. We can now continue to reach those at home, unable to congregate, thru diverse media. It was something due and owing. So, there are many blessings in all of this. I only mention one. We have been truly blessed.

  3. My church has grown with on line church services. We added one more service, and have thirty four Salvation’s. I share music one day a week with the homeless, and the needy. My wife and I have delivered boxes of food to the needy.

  4. Excellent and timely article. I attend a large C&MA affiliated church in the Bay Area. I’ve served the Lord in VN and China over a period of ten years, and felt God’s leading as our church has been dispersed back to our communities. It’s been like living in a house church in the book of Acts. We have grown in faith and note our total attendance has significantly increased while our services and Bible studies have gone online. Many questions have been raised regarding the motives behind reestablishing our former meetings and operations. Why go back, when our God seems to be calling for reformation into something new and more appropriate for the approaching End Times? We don’t need regeneration of the old, as much as we need reformation a Biblical new church. We seem to have lost our way, and is giving us a serious kick in the pants to wake us up. We are the Bride and we seriously need to get ready for the Wedding and the Feast. Amen!

  5. I think about and read The 23 psalm and the poem foot prints in the sand. Verse Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4, ESV). And in the poem When the man only saw one set of foot prints he wondered why God was not their but God was He was caring him. God will the comfort and peace we need always. We just need to trust God and let God lead us instead of us trying to do it on our own. Let God comfort us and lead us. Amen and God Bless

  6. Wrapped in tragic events of recent days, it is even more targeting us: the church. If God asks, and what did you do in that era? What then.

  7. Might I add the need of caution so that the current crisis won’t divide Christians with some questioning the validity of the seriousness of the pandemic, promoting conspiracy theories, advocating an immediate return to things as they were and discontinuing such preventive measures as spacing and wearing masks while trusting the Lord to protect. Others consider the pandemic as a very serious threat to health and physical life, making taking common sense precautions while trusting God to protect is the right approach. I suggest that all should read Romans 14 and 15 and apply its teachings to the present situation without passing judgment upon those you consider weak (could it be they are really the strong ones?), but remember that the strong are said to be those who do not please themselves, but seek the good of others. Yes, let’s not waste the crisis! Surely God must have something to say to us during this crisis.

  8. I love the truth in the word, where Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against His Chruch. We can still obey God love and pray for our fellow man. And give our excess money to help others.

  9. Let’s remember that when the New Testament believers were displaced, God created the biggest opportunity ever for the Gospel to be spread.

  10. Thank you, I have been feeling that too. I am enjoying finding myself in a place that I have permission to think outside the box. I see God in it for sure. Blessings

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