Church doesn’t stop when we stop going to the building. Why? Because we are the Church! Here are 10 ideas for doing Church wherever you are during lockdown.
“Hey what’s up how are you guys doing? My name is Blaque Nubon. Welcome to this very special broadcast of The Gospel Coalition Africa. It is a crazy time that we are living in currently. Most of us are under lockdown because of what is happening in the world, globally, with COVID-19. And a lot of African countries are slowly getting affected. South Africa is currently on lockdown and I’ve heard reports of other countries going on lockdown.
Can We Do Church During Lockdown?
And so the question that we ask ourselves during this time is how are we gonna do church? Most of us are at home alone. Some of us are with family. Some of us have been locked down with friends.
Church does not stop just because we have stopped going to the building. Why? Because we are the Church.
So one thing I need to say up front is that church does not stop just because we have stopped going to the building. Why? Because we are the Church. You are the Church. I am the Church. And God’s Holy Spirit is with us all the time. God is with us, Christ is with us, His word is with us. Therefore we can do church anywhere! It does not matter where we are physically, geographically. Church can still be done because God by the power of His Holy Spirit and his word is still moving. So we are the Church and will continue doing church.
10 Ideas for Doing Church during Lockdown
So here are 10 ideas I want to share with you that will help us to do church wherever it is that we are. Let’s get into idea number 1.
Meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate. In Psalm 1, 2 we are told that we meditate on God’s word day and night. That is the characteristic of those who are righteous – seeking to live a life that it pleasing to the Lord. So most of us get caught up in the business of life: work, school, family, friends, social life, other extra mural social activities. Whatever it is that we get our hands dirty with. But, the thing that suffers, is our meditation on God’s word.
So we can be reminded at this time to go back to the scriptures. To meditate on God’s word day and night. To develop the habit again of meditating on God’s word day and night. That very psalm tells us that we will be like the trees planted by streams of living water, producing many fruits for the sake of growing God’s kingdom. So let us meditate on God’s word.
Develop the habit again of meditating on God’s word day and night
Ideas that you can use there is pick a passage. Sit down with it – wherever it is. Start easy then maybe with the Gospel of John or one of the Gospels. The Gospel of Matthew, Mark or Luke. Pick a passage there in the morning. Sit down with it. Read, study it. Underline, highlight, find repetitions in terms of ideas – in terms of words. Find ideas that are communicated there. What is God saying to the people at that time? What is God saying to you in this time? And then pray about those things And do the same thing at night. Meditate on God’s word throughout the whole day. Think about what you read. Meditate on God’s word. That is the first idea for doing church during lockdown.
2: Read Christian Literature
Second idea is read Christian literature. Good, solid, Biblical Christian literature. Most of us collect books at conferences, at seminars, at church. From friends as gifts. Books that we’ve borrowed. And we just haven’t gotten to reading them! So sit back, find the book that you wanted to read and study that. Read it and enrich your soul and your mind about the wonderful truths of God’s word.
Find books that help you with certain doctrines in the scriptures. Find books that help you with certain arguments for the Christian faith. There are books that help you with certain practical things to do in Christian lifestyle. Equip yourself with the blessing that God has given us through Christian authors. So read, read and read.
3: Call a Friend
The third idea for doing church is calling a friend.
We live in an age where we are all on social media. Just texting; avoiding any form of contact with other humans in terms of physical contact or in terms of hearing somebody speak to us. But I think it would be a very encouraging thing right now in the lockdown to hear a friend speaking to you. A voice of a friend speaking to you at this time. It would encourage you. It will enrich your soul. And refresh the soul of that person that you are speaking to as well.
I think it would be a very encouraging thing right now in the lockdown to hear a friend speaking to you.
So try and use that at this time. Try and call a friend. Try and call those that have kept you accountable in your Christian walk. Pray for each other over the phone. Read scripture to each other over the phone. But encourage each other. As you call friends, as you call family – especially if you are alone and you are in isolation and have no-one else around you – if you know of somebody who is alone – call them! Make it a point that you will set time aside during the day to call that person. To encourage them. So that they can be refreshed as well.
4: Use WhatsApp Groups
Idea number 4 for doing church at this time: WhatsApp Groups. WhatsApp is a tremendous blessing to us in Africa. Use WhatsApp to communicate with those around you. There are many ways that you can use this idea of WhatsApp. You can create a group. Bring people into that group. Maybe people that you were in a Bible study with and now obviously you can’t meet physically. Share Bible study material in that group. Share encouraging messages with each other over the course of the lockdown. Send voice notes to each other.
Communicate and contact people! So that you can maintain fellowship during this time of lockdown
I know other people are compiling Bible study material and they are sending it off and broadcasting it to all their contacts. So use WhatsApp to communicate with people. Write blogs and send it. Write devotions and send those to people to be encouraged. But communicate and contact people! So that you can maintain fellowship during this time of lockdown.
5: Have a Family Bible Study
Idea number 5: Having a family Bible study. If you are locked down with your family do use this time to implement Bible studies as a family. You might not have been able to do so in the past because of other activities and commitments that the family has had try to develop the habit now. And, God willing, after the lockdown you guys will be so locked into your family Bible studies that you won’t stop even after the lockdown!
Find creative ways to include everybody. If you have kids around, ask the youngest kid maybe to pray for you as you start the Bible study. The oldest kid to read the passage that you are looking at. The mother maybe to then share prayer points at the end of the Bible study. The father leading the Bible study. Whatever the case is, find creative ways of including the family in the family Bible study.
God willing, after the lockdown you guys will be so locked in to your family Bible studies that you won’t stop!
6: Video Group Chats
Idea number 6: One thing I’m excited about is this app I just discovered called Zoom. Zoom is an app where you can have multiple people on and you can video chat each other. The thing I like about Zoom is that the quality of the visuals are clear – they don’t lag. The sound does not lag and it is clear and you can hear everybody speaking. And it is good quality compared to other apps that I have used. This is not sponsored by Zoom at all! But I am saying it’s a good app that I’ve found myself and I have used in the past couple of days during the lockdown. So consider using Zoom.
A lot of our life groups at my particular church have used Zoom to continue meeting. For their Bible study, for their life groups, to continue encouraging each other and meeting as brothers and sisters in Christ. So consider doing that. We used it with a number of other artists globally because that’s another thing I do on the side. I am an artist. And so we were gathering together to speak about ideas of how we can encourage each other and share ideas of what we can do during this time of lockdown as artists who are in the faith.
7: Church Online
Idea number 7 is church online. A lot of churches have gone online to stream their services. And there are a number of good things about this. You still get to meet with your church family remotely – wherever anyone is. You can still come together on a Sunday whatever time that your church normally met on a normal Sunday. That you would still be broadcasting and hearing your shepherd speak to you. Hearing your leaders that God has put over you still minister God’s word to you. It’s a good time to be encouraged. To hear God speak through his word. With familiar faces that you see. Brothers and sisters that you are part of your local family with. So consider doing church online.
The Richness of Face to Face Fellowship
But I would put a caution there to say after the lockdown, brothers and sisters, let us not fall into the trap of thinking that it is the way church is supposed to be done. That if church online has worked, that we continue doing that and fail to meet together as a body of Christ. Fail to meet together as God’s children. It will take away the richness of fellowship. It will take away the richness of meeting together.
God in his mercy has helped us during this season to use technology to have church online; to sustain us. But that is not what we should be doing after this period.
Yes, God in his mercy and his grace has helped us during the season to use means like technology, having church online, to sustain us. But that is not what we should be doing after this period. It’s just a word of caution that we don’t fall into that trap. It’s a good resource that we can use to reach out to the world. But if we have the means to go to the church, and meet with other brothers and sisters, let us do so after the isolation or lockdown.
8: Don’t Stop Giving
Idea number 8 for doing church at this time: Continue giving. Just because we are on lockdown it does not mean that we stop giving to God’s work. Continue giving to God’s work. You can give via EFT. If that is what you’ve been doing – continue doing so. If you haven’t, start doing so now. Get the bank details of your church and continue giving to the work of the Lord. Another way you can continue giving is if you have been giving physical money – and obviously you cannot go to church physically anymore – save that. Put that in an envelope. Put it in a safe place and pray as you give and be faithful in continuing to give. At the end of the lockdown take all of that and give that to the church.
Just because we are on lockdown it does not mean that we stop giving to God’s work.
Continue giving to God’s work. Other churches are using something called Snap Scan where something appears on screen – it’s like a bar code that you can scan – so that you can give immediately to that particular church. So if your church has Snap Scan use that. If your church doesn’t – and you know they can – suggest that to them! That as they stream their services that they can use Snap Scan at home with your smart phone you can just scan the screen. And then you will be able to give to the work of the Lord – to your particular local church.
9: Be Outward Focused
Idea number 9 for doing church: Let us look outside of ourselves during this time. Think about the vulnerable churches and vulnerable people in the body of Christ. Some of us are privileged enough to have local supermarkets around us. Not only that, but to have the means to continue buying food even in this lockdown.
A lot of people in poorer communities have lost their jobs. Companies have shut down. People have been let go because there’s no money to keep them going. So think about those churches. Be in contact with them. Find a way to give food parcels to them. Providing food to them – especially in this time. Kids are at home – they are not going to school – they are consuming more food! And so families are running out of food quicker than in a normal circumstance. So please consider giving to those churches.
Let us look outside of ourselves during this time. Think about the vulnerable churches and vulnerable people in the body of Christ.
Practical Tips for Food Parcels
An idea you can use is go to your local supermarket, buy food, leave it at the local supermarket. Ask the church to go to that local supermarket to pick up the food and give it to their people. I know some of the vulnerable churches have made means of how they can send food parcels to their congregants during this time. So you don’t have to think about how the food is gonna go there! Contact the church. They have already put measures in place that adhere to the rules of the lockdown. They have already thought through that. So just find a way to get the food parcels to them so that they can provide for their congregants who don’t have means of finding food for themselves right now. That is a great idea for doing church right now.
Idea number 10 – and very important – and I wanted to end off with this: Pray. Pray, pray, pray, pray. God is still in charge. He is on the throne. God is ruling and reigning. He is not surprised by all of this and he is calling us to be on our knees.
Pray for the virus – that people may be safe from it. That those who have it may be delivered from it and that the doctors would find ways of creating a vaccine. Pray for wisdom. And pray that we would adhere to the rules so that we are safe. Pray that God’s will may be done at this time. Pray for those who are not in the Kingdom of God. That as they see what’s happening in the world that lights would come on in their heads realising that if a virus like this can render the whole globe captive, what hope do we have besides Jesus? What hope do we have besides turning to God?
God is still in charge. He is on the throne. God is ruling and reigning. He is not surprised by all of this and he is calling us to be on our knees.
Pray, Pray and Pray
If some countries who have the best medicine ever have also been affected by this, what hope do we have besides God? So pray that those who are not in the Kingdom of God, lights may come on. That they may ask the right questions and God, by His Holy Spirit, may draw them to himself. Let us be praying for our non-Christian friends and family. Pray for our non-Christian work colleagues. Pray for them in this time!
And pray for Christians to meditate on God’s word. To be ready to give a reason for the hope they hold onto when all of this is done. When a harvest comes towards us as the Church and they shower us with questions about God – and about how He works in this world even in the midst of epidemics and viruses such as this – that we would be ready to give people the reason for the hope that we hold onto.
Online For a Season
So pray that God would use all these ideas for doing church that I’ve shared with us today for the good of His Church and for His glory. And that where there is error that He may correct it. So that we may not fall into the trap of thinking that this is how we are supposed to do church normally. So yes, let’s use these ideas to reach out, to communicate, even after the lockdown is done. But acknowledge and realise that these ideas are for a season. That God has given us His grace and mercy to continue growing in our love for him and our understanding for Him and the love for other people.
Do not fall into the trap of thinking this is how we are supposed to do church normally… Acknowledge and realise that these ideas are for a season.
Stay Safe, Stay Home
So with that said friends I pray that you are safe. I pray that you stay at home! Do not move. Think about those who have compromised immune systems. Think about those who are in vulnerable communities. So let us not just think about our own safety, but think about the safety of others. Let us stay at home, let us wash our hands for 20 seconds, use had sanitisers and make sure that you are keeping hygienically safe, so that you can prevent the virus from spreading.
With that said, grace and peace and thank you so much for watching this very special broadcast of The Gospel Coalition Africa. My name is Blaque Nubon and I will see you next time! Peace!”