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On Pause? Church Planting during COVID-19

On the 1st of March 2020 Greg Cassim officially opened the doors to Hope Church, Durban. Two weeks later the Coronavirus hits South Africa. Fast forward another week and there are bans on large gatherings, social distancing and imminent national lockdown. This Church plant had been years in the planning – why, oh why did it have to launch now? Greg Cassim shares how he has continued church planting during COVID-19 and how he is coping in the midst of the pandemic-driven uncertainty.

“I just have a sense that when things do normalise, I think there is going to be a real drive in terms of evangelism. So I think we can really capitalise on that and I think the Lord is actually warming people’s hearts up again. People are really going to be turning to the Lord in this season. If anything this COVID is showing humans that we are not in control, you know?”

The Road to Church Planting

“In the last five years, man, God just started to talk to me and work in my heart. In a sense of “hey, I’ve really called you to do something.”  Early last year I had a conversation with the lead elder in the church and I was like “I feel like the Lord is really telling me to start up something. I’m not too sure about the timing”… but at that point time I had September 2019 in my mind. And yeah man! So the church just took that news with such excitement and they really basically adopted it as well.

I feel like the Lord is really telling me to start up something. I’m not too sure about the timing

The 1st of March we plant a church. So the church is called, Hope Church and we are based in Durban. We are part of the greater family of churches, called the Advance Network.

Church Planting during COVID-19

So 1st of March… excitement, you know. People from the various churches, friends and family, people from the community who hear about the church they come through to the launch. And yeah, it’s popping. And then the first week thereafter, the 9th of March, we get new faces coming in… And yeah it’s just been awesome. And then I think like at the beginning of last week we really started to see okay, COVID-19 is really taking shape here in the country. How can we continue church planting during COVID-19?

 

Staying in Touch with the Team is Critical

So we are just being in contact with our people, especially our core team. Just encouraging the guys on the various platforms on a daily basis. Churches are going online. So wow,! Who would have ever thought that this could possibly be our first Easter having church in front of a screen?

Who would have ever thought that this could possibly be our first Easter having church in front of a screen?

‘If, it does come down to total lockdown, then obviously we gonna have to go to the technology of Facebook, the Instagram, the WhatsApp messages. Pre-recording messages and sending it out to the people. And it’s also a beautiful thing in a sense because you are reaching not just your own audience, when you go online. You are able to reach the masses. So there is some good in that.

Encouragement for Church Planters Today

If you are in the process of church planting during COVID-19 and you’re still gathering your people, just formulating your team, getting the DNA of the church, just trust the Lord. Continue building with those God has called you to be with and continue with the plan. Just make sure that you are looking to Him. He is the one who is building the church as the scriptures tell us. “If he does not build the house then we labour in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) So He is the one who is building. It is a privilege that we can come alongside Him to build.

God is the one who is building the church as the scriptures tell us. “If he does not build the house then we labour in vain.”

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