During the period of isolation in Brazil, we heard from several pastors who would not do many different things when reopening the church for face-to-face meetings. As time went by, we began to hear from these same leaders their concerns about how to tailor different ministries to meet a number of new needs. Some were concerned about meeting the needs of the elderly who will remain at risk by Covid-19. Another pastor noted that members seem very comfortable with online services. He imagines that some of them would never meet again in person, and asks what to do to change that. Several pastors are preparing to reopen their churches and find people who have failed to say goodbye to relatives who died during isolation, and others suffering from depression or unemployed. There are multiple reasons to believe that ministries in the post-isolation period will need to rethink how things can be different.
Theologians and missiologists are describing the current moment as a singular opportunity for the Church of Jesus Christ to review some of its concepts and update its practices. Who of us imagined this time, with the economies and governments of the world standing in the face of a pandemic, and the churches with their physical doors closed for several months? 
This is the important moment to reflect the Word of God and seek inspiration and encouragement. In 1 Chronicles 12.32, we find the reference of a group of people who entered David’s army. The sons of Issachar are described as “connoisseurs of the time, to know what Israel should do” (RA). At critical moments like this, God’s people need people who know their time and times, who know how to discern and interpret a new normal ity in society. We want you, our reader, to be the leader who can discern the times and understand the peculiar challenges that this pandemic presents to the Church of Jesus.
In Ecclesiastes 3, we find king Solomon’s words that describe how “everything has its time set, and there is time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecto 3.1 – RA). This moment of reopening churches and restarting ministries can be interpreted as a time, determined by God to face change and realign ministries. Solomão describes several actions that accompany the time determined by God. Some of these actions help us ask questions for our churches and ministries in this unique period of pandemic, post-isolation.
- What needs to be paraded? (die or derribar)
- What needs to be reinvented? (heal or build)
- What needs to be created? (being born or planting)
A group of evangelical pastors in Natal-RN is preparing a simple primer to apply these questions in ten strategic areas of a ministry. They believe that all these areas can undergo changes in the post-isolation period of the pandemic. Reflecting on these ten areas of ministry, it was considered how each area could present an opportunity for its ministry to be strengthened and fruition in this new pandemic time in Brazil. Let’s look below:
Churches that reflect a simpler model of ministry: How will the new normality of society be reflected in the new normality in churches? How can your church reflect a model of ministry like Jesus and the Church of Acts?
Ministries that care for groups of vulnerability to Covid-19 with emphasis on the 3rd age:
How can we mobilize the body of Christ to serve the most vulnerable in the community? How to understand and meet the specific needs of the old and with comorbidities?
Special hygiene and prevention care in the local church space and ministry:
How to tailor and use your church and other public spaces not to infect people? How can your church testify to your obedience to God’s authority and those of civil and scientific authorities?
How churches can become more involved in the lives and needs of their local community:
How can your church mobilize to embody the reality and presence of the Gospel in the neighborhood? How can ministries be more relevant and have an impact on the lives of people in the community?
The importance and limits of technology and the internet to fulfill the mission of the local Church:
How to strengthen face-to-face services and tailor the use of online transmission? To what extent does the church need to modernize with technologies to accomplish its mission?
Financial fidelity and stewardship in times of economic recession in the post-isolation:
How to have a long-term financial plan for your ministry during a recession?
How and where should the ministry spend on spending in a recession?
Balancing the advantages of full-time or bivocational ministerial vocation:
How can pastors fulfill their vocation and support their families? How to understand and demystify the vocation of “tent-makingmen”?
Special care for people suffering psychological problems (result of the pandemic).
How to care for people with therapeutic and psychological needs in the church?
How to minister to people who have suffered in isolation or in the pandemic?
Interpreting pandemic times in the light of biblical eschatology.
How to understand the pandemic in the light of eschatology and Revelation?
How does the pandemic serve to understand the suffering, tribulation, and second coming of Christ?
Challenges in rebuilding missions to the ends of the earth by rebuilding the local ministry:
How to relearn what it means to be a missionary church?
How to give opportunities to people to know the urgency of missions in a pandemic context?
These and others can sprout in your heart. Let’s reflect and look for ways…
Douglas Lamp ( Sepal Northeast Team | [email protected].br