Years ago, I spoke at a large church’s mission conference in Petoskey, Michigan. The other speaker had a topic I’ll never forget: “Calamity Clarifies.”
If you’re thrilled with the state of our world right now, you’ll likely need counseling. It’s probable that you—and most of those in your social network—feel the uncertainty of disruption.
From the perspective of Scripture, there is significant evidence that disruption breeds receptivity. Consider God’s people—slaves in Egypt. Life was so bad, God’s people demonstrated the incredible faith to walk through parted waters. Then, safe on the other side, they grumbled about food!
Or, think about the timing God chose to send His Son to Israel. The country was under the invasive rule of Rome. It was a horrendous reality: The land God promised to His people was overrun by a pagan army that taxed them and sent their hard-earned money to Rome. Why would God—who could do anything—pick that time to send His Son?
Disruption breeds receptivity. It’s why prison ministry is so effective. When it seems like you’ve lost so much, God’s love feels so great.
As you reflect on the state of our world, what is God saying to you? What is God saying to your church? What are you going to do about it?
A Few Thoughts
As Israel was crawling with Roman soldiers, Jesus said, “Look to the fields. They are ripe and ready for harvest.” So, where are you looking? Are you looking beyond the evening news? The online updates? The political conversations? And the price of gas? Are you looking at those in the mission field around your church who are far from God? Do you see this as an opportunity for believers to grow deeper in faith—in their relationship with Jesus?
Here are a few ideas. There are likely dozens more, and you are invited to join the conversation. Let’s encourage one another in the greater family of God.
- Pray for our world and worship services.
- Challenge the prayer warriors at your church to set up an online discussion group to take prayer requests.
- Advertise and organize a public gathering for prayer—at your church, or at some public setting in your community. Take prayer requests on anonymous 3×5 cards. Repeat this more than once and observe what God does. Focus on prayer. Lift up hope. Point to Jesus. Ignore politics. Pray for leaders.
- During your weekly worship services, provide 3×5 cards or a texting opportunity to gather prayer requests. Add whatever time is necessary to pray.
- If your church operates on the New Testament platform of spiritual gifts, gather those who have the gift of intercession to meet during the week to pray for those who request prayer. Advertise within and beyond your church. Demonstrate a willingness and readiness to pray.
- If you are in an area that still has a local newspaper, reach out and offer an interview with your pastor on the subject of “hope in challenging times.” If you don’t have a small-town newspaper, take up a collection—beyond your normal offering—and put a large ad in the paper. Make it about hope, and provide next-step opportunities to submit prayer requests and an invitation to attend a prayer opportunity or to receive follow-up from your prayer team.
- If you have a local radio outlet or television station, reach out and offer an interview with a staff member or community leader from your church about “how to cope with stress and discouragement.” Don’t preach, but don’t be shy about how you’ve experienced help and encouragement from your faith. If your church is offering a community prayer service, be sure to include information about it.
- Use social media to promote hope and opportunities for help from the Christian perspective. Post videos on Facebook and Instagram Reels. Share them with those in your social network. Encourage those you know to share them with those in their social networks. Start a movement!
- Collect prayer requests on your church website. Pass them on to a team of prayer warriors. For your prayer team, don’t overlook those who are homebound. God honors prayer, and it gives them an opportunity to serve!
- In worship and in all other church gatherings, intentionally focus on what God is doing. Give others the opportunity to speak by asking, “Who would like to share what God is doing in your life right now?”
Have you ever wondered why at least half of every newscast is not positive news? Instead, most news reports have one short segment at the end, to conclude on a positive note. In reality, for most of us, there are many blessings. Pray for challenges, count your blessings, look to Jesus, and encourage others. Share this blog post with your contacts on social media. Start a movement of hope! Be a movement of health! It’s what God’s people do in challenging times.
Kent R. Hunter is the founder of Church Doctor Ministries, a nonprofit Christian ministry that helps churches effectively reach their communities for Jesus Christ and for a better world.