We Are A Connected People Despite the Times
Dear Pastors and Leaders,
We are reminded by the Apostle Paul of the fragility of the world and all that we face because we “have this treasure in jars of clay.” As these “jars of clay,” “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9).
We are beginning a new month where coronavirus continues to find its place in our lives. For all who hoped that life would get back to “normal,” new patterns seem to be developing and the way of life we had before is becoming more of a distant reality. However, we do not despair because, in the midst of all that we face these days, God continues to lead and guide His people.
Reading on, Paul says, “we do not lose heart” because we “fix our eyes on what is unseen” (v. 16 and 18). If we keep our eyes on everything that is happening around us, we could lose heart and become discouraged. Situations are developing around the world beyond the virus. Armenia and Azerbaijan suddenly find themselves at war. Persecution is on-going in India. But we do not lose heart because we keep our focus on serving the Lord in the midst of all that we cannot control.
Reports are coming in from across the globe of the ways God is at work. God’s people are ministering at the point of deepest need, and lives are being changed. As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the church has discovered the power of being a connected people through a denomination. The systems that sometimes seem cumbersome are an instant network of support and provide pathways through which services can be provided. Nazarene Compassionate Ministries has touched nearly a half a million people during this crisis. Our churches have ministered to over 2.5 million people through the local church, and our schools have adapted to new ways of educating.
When the year 2020 began, we had no idea that the word “zoom” would become a major part of our vocabulary. Had this crisis come just five years earlier, the technology would not have been readily available. As a Board of General Superintendents (BGS), we have been able to use this technology to connect with the global church in ways we had never imagined. While we always hoped to connect with district superintendents face-to-face at least once during our two-year jurisdiction, we are now meeting regularly with on-going engagement, training, and conversation.
The crisis has brought us closer together as a people and we see the result through partnerships across the different ministries of the church. At our recent meeting of the Global Ministry Team (GMT), there was enthusiasm about the future as we see God leading and guiding the church to continue to focus on the mission of making Christlike disciples.
We do not lose hope because we continue to fix our eyes on what is unseen! God is still changing lives. People are coming to Christ and people are being baptized. Some churches are experiencing the best days in their history. God is working, even in the midst of the trials.
While we fix our eyes on what is unseen, we partner together with the people of God in prayer. Let’s pray for the persecuted church. Let’s pray for those who are struggling with the COVID-19 virus. Let’s pray for revival.
Grace and peace,
Board of General Superintendents
Filimão M. Chambo. Eugénio R. Duarte. David W. Graves. David A. Busic. Gustavo A. Crocker, Carla D. Sunberg
Filed Under: Communicator Published: 10/05/2020