The Impact of Covid on Local Churches is a pastor’s view of what Covid did to the Lord’s work specifically regarding local churches. After the fact of Covid, we (Christians) have learned many lessons about what ill affects us as Christians and as the Lord’s work, local churches. In this article, I will review some of these from a pastor’s point of view.
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The Impact of Covid on Local Churches has been difficult
To say that this epidemic hasn’t affected Christians and churches would be showing how ignorant we really are to the life and spiritual health of a Christian. It has affected us in a bad way.
Covid shut down local assemblies meeting
The most important thing perhaps is something that we missed in all of this. The local meeting, assembly, and fellowship that happens weekly among God’s people. Is there risk of getting sick? Yes. Probably always has been and always will be that risk when you are around other people in close fellowship talking with them. So what? This is not a deal breaker here. You go to the store to buy food, you do a lot of things that are risky. But does that really stop you? No it does not. But with church attendance, things are different.
As a pastor, I have for 30+ years fought with my people to get them to come every Sunday and Wednesday to church. That is my job yes, but it is for their own spiritual health that they should be doing this. Constantly year in and year out, the issue of church attendance is always before me as a pastor. Just when you think you have your people convinced of weekly attendance, some new people come, and they think they should attend church like they go to a ball game or something. There is a season of attending then the rest of the year they don’t care.
Covid has opened this problem and busted it wide open.
Internet Church Attendance
As a pastor, let me just say that I hate Internet church services. What I find is that the people are not really there many times. We use Zoom, and there are little squares (distracting things when you preach), but they show people’s faces and attention or inattention. After the preaching has ended, many times I ask questions of my people, and I ask specific questions of specific people. They are just not at the computer any more. They apparently have connected but want to be anonymous. Okay. Why? Others connect and deliberately set their profile so that they cannot show an image nor open their mics. Why?
The key here is that God has commanded us to participate in a local assembly of the same doctrines and practices as what you have. There is fellowship that happens. This is most clearly focused on some spiritual interest, prayer, and encouragement that might pass between two people attending. This does not happen in Zoom, or it is very difficult to happen, or is impossible when one of the two have their videos and microphones turned off. There is no fellowship.
As of little importance as this seems, it is a really big deal in the life of a Christian and a local church. Even though you might discount all “encouragement” and interest from your brothers and sisters, being yourself stingy and not wanting to give them any encouragement, you need that same encouragement from them whether you realize it or not. Mix in no work, physical needs, sickness of Covid or some other health program, psychological depression, spiritual depression, stress from the other crazies locked up with you in your own home, and we need a tremendous amount of prayer and encouragement that should be coming from our fellowship.
Work and our Economic Well Being
Covid 19 has busted many a economy and family savings and income. This is the great problem with everybody well quarantining instead of every other disease in the history of mankind where only the sick are quarantined. But the short of this is simply, everybody got laid off from their work just about. Working from home has always been a liberal’s dream. But in reality, most people hate it. People get a physical boost from getting out of their homes and going out to work, interacting with other people, and physically walking, getting up and moving about. All of this died by you working from home.
But the Impact of Covid on Local Churches in this area is that tithes and offerings were severally reduced or stopped entirely. As a pastor, I feel for my church people. I do not see pressing them for money when they are barely or not making it themselves. But a physical local church and a pastor and/or church staff operate on the basis of income from their members. What this Covid situation has done is undercut the ability of Christians to support their local church. This should not be ignored or downplayed.
Satan’s attack is to close every good church out there, and only the ones teaching Satan’s doctrines and practices stay open. It is instructive to see in California that the marijuana smoking rooms and abortion clinics never closed during Covid, but the police were in front of some churches to keep them from opening. We get a definite picture of who is behind this closing of the churches action.
The people of God need to have a firm conviction and relationship with the physical house of God where they assemble. Too much time shut down, and people begin reasoning, “Why don’t we sell the building so we don’t have the expenses?” Within a hop, skip, and jump, the church has been wiped out of our society permanently. Only people with a firm relationship with their Lord will resist this and insist on the church continuing unchanged in its biblical doctrine and practices.
“Church” and Preaching is ruined in Covid/Internet Services
Yes, I know that there has been religious groups and individuals preaching to their Internet churches for years now. But there is a certain difference between these services and sitting down in a pew and having “church”. The difference I see is frankly attention. People sitting at home on their couches or around their dining room table listening to church do not get as much from a service or sermon as if they were sitting in the church building. First of all, they don’t get dressed up, but are in their daily work clothes, or worse, their PJs. This is disrespectful of the Lord’s house. If an Internet service is how you worship God every week, then you should dress the same as you would in going to a church building. I will leave that that way, because people today are going to church basically not much different from going in their pajamas anyway.
When a family listens to their church service, normally from my observation, the kids are free to be there or wander off. Everybody is free to go to the refrigerator and get something to eat, and to eat it during the service. The entire concept of worshiping God is lost in this. There is no worship at all, just listening, and not much of that. When in a physical service, people leave their cell phones on, and take messages during the service like nothing wrong at all. Some do not even go outside to talk to whomever called them. In their homes, this is worse, because somebody’s mother can call and they will talk through the entire service and “listen with one ear,” i.e. not listen but count me as being there. Sad.
The issues around Covid separate people
Everybody is different. Some people trust what our government is saying, others only trust some of the people in government, some people what to trust the scientists, others the medical professionals, and other people don’t trust anybody at all.
The problem here comes in being in a fellowship in the same physical place with people of extremely different positions and views. You cannot “be quiet” about your views if you wear them from ear to ear across your mouth. One person does not want other people to infect them, and others don’t believe in all of that so they are “careless” about the extremes.
I am not sure which is worse, politics or views about Covid for dividing our people. In the end analysis, even if there is some minor contamination between people present in our services, we do not see that as a preoccupation within Scripture. A person should congregate none-the-less. “Church” is about living with our fellow Christian brethren, and us adapting to them in order to love them. If Christ could reach out to the sick and leprous, why can we not risk ourselves a little to reach and minister to our fellow Christians?
The Impact of Covid on Local Churches