VIDEO: 5 Ways COVID-19 Helps Our Church



We know that God is not the cause of our pain, but He never wastes a hurt. 

Here are five ways COVID-19 helps our church.

#1 – ALLOWED ABSENCE TO MAKE OUR HEARTS GROW FONDER

IMG_5458I recently posted a picture of the inside of our empty church sanctuary. Within just a few hours, hundreds of people responded to express their longing to gather together under the same roof again. People are longing to connect more than ever. Really connect.

However, proximity does not always guarantee intimacy and distance does not demand disconnection. I am seeing people of all ages reaching out to communicate and connect in new and creative ways. There is an enhanced sense of intimacy and connection that will only build momentum once we gather together once again. From now on, we will enjoy new avenues of communication and connection that complement our in-person gatherings.

#2 – ACCELERATED OUR PACE OF EXECUTING EXISTING PLANS

Copy of Untitled-4When I arrived in the summer of 2016, our church did not live-stream any services. We first began live-streaming portions of our services in late 2017. Here we are a little more than two years later, and live-streaming is our primary way of connecting and communicating during this global pandemic.

Only in the last few weeks has our church geared up and committed to providing a full online worship experience. Because of our inability to gather, our vision of using current and future strategies to reach people with the gospel has accelerated. Now, more than ever, we are positioned to take action on existing plans to enhance online engagement. Over the past few weeks, our team has replaced “attendance” with “engagement” as our primary measurement of ministry effectiveness.

#3 – REMOVED OUR “WE’VE NEVER DONE IT THAT WAY” EXCUSES

nasemstudyimagesmallerThe past is powerful, and we honor the past by not living it. My church is over 100 years old, and for many, fear has been associated with the idea of moving forward in faith. Much of this fear is rooted in a genuine desire to stay rooted in the precious truths God has revealed in previous seasons of our church’s rich history.

However, God is using this new challenge to allow us to pause and focus on what is essential. Our rich history has brought us to where we are and prepared us to take our next steps into a new and exciting season of ministry for our church. We are now uniquely positioned to gaze forward. Our past has prepared us for progress, and we are honoring our past by not living in it.

#4 – NORMALIZED OUR CHURCH EXPERIENCES FOR INTROVERTS 

240_F_271852881_lQBB5n8Y4otT5YAye8JqLSTuRpJOuWvVLet’s be honest. The local church experience has been biased toward extroverts for a long time. Unlike extroverts, introverts feel exhausted and drained after social engagements. Think about it. In the past, we have consistently created opportunities to connect that make the experience painfully exhausting for those who are more introverted.

However, we are entering a new season of connectivity with those who prefer to observe from a distance. For example, many of our connection groups are having first-time guests join their Zoom gatherings. There is such an ease to inviting people online, especially those who are more introverted.

#5 – REVEALED OUR SMALL TOWN CHURCH HAS A BIG REACH 

Copy of The Gathering (HS)Bigger is not better. Better is better. My church is in a small town. I realize that there are towns that are smaller than ours, but I am thankful for the sense of community we have maintained. Small town churches work very diligently to serve those in their community, and this global pandemic has created a new normal.

Online connections have helped our church realize the mobility of the gospel and a broader sense of community. Recently, we have seen ten times as many people connecting with us online. When I share with longtime trusted leaders in my church that tens of thousands of people, including people internationally located, are viewing our online content, it is an encouraging reminder of this new normal. You don’t have to be a big church in a big community to have a significant impact on the lives of a non-local community of faith. It is an excellent reminder that we all work for the same guy, Jesus Christ.

Afterthoughts | April 19, 2020

Copy of Stephen & Wendy Podcast

LISTEN NOW: April 19, 2020


SERIES TITLE: Who’s Your One?

SERMON TITLE: Moving Past “Christian

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 4:18-22


On Sunday afternoons at the Cutchins’ home, we usually have some early afternoon coffee, and find ourselves discussing the morning message. “AFTERTHOUGHTS is our way of sharing the conversation and discussion with you. In each post, we will ask five questions to spark discussion over a cup of coffee.

DISCUSSION STARTER QUESTIONS

  • What stood out to you?
  • What did you think needs more discussion?
  • What were your biggest takeaways?
  • What did you find most challenging?
  • Why did you think this message was important?

Screen Shot 2020-04-19 at 8.08.40 PMScreen Shot 2020-04-19 at 8.08.49 PM


WHAT JESUS NEVER SAID

I was on a Zoom video conference call with Senator Tim Scott recently, along with almost 200 pastors from around the state of South Carolina. He was asked to speak a few words of encouragement over the pastors. He said, “We need wisdom from the Lord, and not from man. This is the golden opportunity we have been waiting for. The church is the most powerful weapon on Earth.” 

scott_trump

I think Senator Scott believes that because the church is the primary conduit through which God shares his Word of Truth in this world. Truth is our great friend right now in a world full of lies. A lot has changed over the past weeks, so we all need to be reminded of truth because truth never changes.

TRUTH: The church is designed to be mobilized and scattered for ministry. 

Because of COVID-19, it has been weeks since I have gathered together on campus with my church family. As a non-recovering extrovert, I can’t wait for our church to be under the same roof again. That first week back together, I may stand there on the stage and grin at my church family the whole time. With that in mind, do you know what Jesus never said? 

Jesus never said, “I’ve come that you may have CHURCH.”

Jesus said, “I have come that you may have LIFE!” 

Sometimes, we miss the point! We are too quick to confuse the real message of Jesus. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” God’s plan for us is amazing because God’s plan is based on GRACE. 

Satan has a plan as well, and it is nothing new. It is predictable. Satan used the same game plan in both the Garden of Eden and the temptation of Christ. Satan offers us ways to DO something apart from God’s will, HAVE something apart from God’s will, and BE something apart from God’s will. It is time for us to come out of the privileged, self-centered, narcissistic attitude that makes us think that everything has to go our way. That is not the way things are in this world.

Canva - You Are Worthy of Love Signage on Brown Wooden Post TakenNow, our enemy does not discriminate. But neither does our savior! John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that WHOEVER believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Let’s make that personal. I am going to say it a bit differently. I want to remind you of the good news about Jesus. God loves you so much that He let His Son Jesus die in your place, so you don’t have to fear death. You can have life that never ends by placing your faith in Jesus Christ.

COVID-2019 is an assault on humanity, but Jesus is the victorious king over death itself. We are merely experiencing a new installment of the same failed enemy that Jesus already defeated. I believe that God is teaching us something. Are you learning? I believe God is trying to tell us something. Are you listening?

You know, at the beginning of the year, God put it on my heart (after much prayer) that 2020 would be a year of growth. Now, you may say, “that’s crazy.” But, consider this. Anytime there is this much warfare, something amazing is on the other side. Let’s refuse to let the bad news about COVID-19, or any other crisis, outpace the good news about Jesus Christ. The next big news story is over 2000 years old! 

5 WAYS COVID-19 HELPS OUR CHURCH

Well, this is my first time leading a church through a global pandemic. It has been four weeks now since I made the decision to cancel all on-campus worship gatherings, indefinitely. Since then, much has changed, and even more has been said about what has changed.

At the risk of adding more “white noise” to the flood of commentary coming out about COVID-19, I do have a few things to add to the conversation. We know that God is not the cause of our pain, but He never wastes a hurt. Here are five ways COVID-19 helps our church.

five

#1 – ALLOWED ABSENCE TO MAKE OUR HEARTS GROW FONDER

IMG_5458I recently posted a picture of the inside of our empty church sanctuary. Within just a few hours, hundreds of people responded to express their longing to gather together under the same roof again. People are longing to connect more than ever. Really connect.

However, proximity does not always guarantee intimacy and distance does not demand disconnection. I am seeing people of all ages reaching out to communicate and connect in new and creative ways. There is an enhanced sense of intimacy and connection that will only build momentum once we gather together once again. From now on, we will enjoy new avenues of communication and connection that complement our in-person gatherings.

#2 – ACCELERATED OUR PACE OF EXECUTING EXISTING PLANS

Copy of Untitled-4When I arrived in the summer of 2016, our church did not live-stream any services. We first began live-streaming portions of our services in late 2017. Here we are a little more than two years later, and live-streaming is our primary way of connecting and communicating during this global pandemic.

Only in the last few weeks has our church geared up and committed to providing a full online worship experience. Because of our inability to gather, our vision of using current and future strategies to reach people with the gospel has accelerated. Now, more than ever, we are positioned to take action on existing plans to enhance online engagement. Over the past few weeks, our team has replaced “attendance” with “engagement” as our primary measurement of ministry effectiveness.

#3 – REMOVED OUR “WE’VE NEVER DONE IT THAT WAY” EXCUSES

nasemstudyimagesmallerThe past is powerful, and we honor the past by not living it. My church is over 100 years old, and for many, fear has been associated with the idea of moving forward in faith. Much of this fear is rooted in a genuine desire to stay rooted in the precious truths God has revealed in previous seasons of our church’s rich history.

However, God is using this new challenge to allow us to pause and focus on what is essential. Our rich history has brought us to where we are and prepared us to take our next steps into a new and exciting season of ministry for our church. We are now uniquely positioned to gaze forward. Our past has prepared us for progress, and we are honoring our past by not living in it.

#4 – NORMALIZED OUR CHURCH EXPERIENCES FOR INTROVERTS 

240_F_271852881_lQBB5n8Y4otT5YAye8JqLSTuRpJOuWvVLet’s be honest. The local church experience has been biased toward extroverts for a long time. Unlike extroverts, introverts feel exhausted and drained after social engagements. Think about it. In the past, we have consistently created opportunities to connect that make the experience painfully exhausting for those who are more introverted.

However, we are entering a new season of connectivity with those who prefer to observe from a distance. For example, many of our connection groups are having first-time guests join their Zoom gatherings. There is such an ease to inviting people online, especially those who are more introverted.

#5 – REVEALED OUR SMALL TOWN CHURCH HAS A BIG REACH 

Copy of The Gathering (HS)Bigger is not better. Better is better. My church is in a small town. I realize that there are towns that are smaller than ours, but I am thankful for the sense of community we have maintained. Small town churches work very diligently to serve those in their community, and this global pandemic has created a new normal.

Online connections have helped our church realize the mobility of the gospel and a broader sense of community. Recently, we have seen ten times as many people connecting with us online. When I share with longtime trusted leaders in my church that tens of thousands of people, including people internationally located, are viewing our online content, it is an encouraging reminder of this new normal.

You don’t have to be a big church in a big community to have a significant impact on the lives of a non-local community of faith. The fact that the playing ground is now more equal among larger and smaller churches has caused me to feel more common ground with other pastors and churches. It is an excellent reminder that we all work for the same guy, Jesus Christ.

Afterthoughts | April 5, 2020

Copy of Stephen & Wendy Podcast

LISTEN NOW: April 5, 2020


SERIES TITLE: SUPERNATURAL

SERMON TITLE: “Can You Hear Me Now? No More of This!”

SCRIPTURE: Luke 22:39-53


On Sunday afternoons at the Cutchins’ home, we usually have some early afternoon coffee, and find ourselves discussing the morning message. “AFTERTHOUGHTS is our way of sharing the conversation and discussion with you. In each post, we will ask five questions to spark discussion over a cup of coffee.

DISCUSSION STARTER QUESTIONS

  • What stood out to you?
  • What did you think needs more discussion?
  • What were your biggest takeaways?
  • What did you find most challenging?
  • Why did you think this message was important?