The global pandemic has affected life as we know it. It has and continues to pose significant challenges to people all around the world. While the Church is called to be a beacon of hope in times like these, it has faced its own share of challenges. Three dominant areas for the Church to navigate through have been stewardship, community outreach, and spirituality. These have not only caused substantial quandaries but have forced church leaders to find new ways to keep their members faithful in these vital aspects of the Christian life. Stewardship, community outreach, and spirituality are all areas in which our Minneapolis First Church leadership were concerned about once the pandemic arrived. Although the pandemic has hampered us to a degree as a church, it also produced opportunities, and helped us to find news way to thrive in these areas.
First, addressing stewardship hasn’t been easy. We certainly have had to adjust to the new normal in finding creative ways to encourage our members to give. Sending weekly virtual bulletin reminders, encouraging weekly online giving, and mailing church envelopes to collect church funds have been our best methods in reminding our members to remain faithful to God and His church by giving. Before the pandemic, most of our members were used to giving when they came to the church building. But now they have learned a few new lessons about giving: 1) There are many ways to give. 2) Giving is not based on location but rather on one’s heart and their faithfulness to God. I am proud to report that Minneapolis First’s giving has increased substantially since being in the pandemic. We have learned that we can be faithful to God even in difficult times because He is always faithful to us.
Second, community service. Our Minneapolis First Community Service Ministry has been a staple in the Minneapolis area for 20 years. When the pandemic arrived, it certainly posed a challenge of how we would continue to serve and safeguard everyone’s health in the process. With proper guidance from our church board and health ministry team we were able to implement safety guidelines and practices to assist us in moving forward with our outreach to the community. It is a blessing to report that we are serving close to 90 people a week! We thought the pandemic would cut our numbers in half, but it actually increased our numbers immensely! God has been faithful to our Community Service Ministry and we look forward to seeing how we can continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community!
Third, lets end by looking at spirituality. Spirituality is important and is vital in the life of every believer. Christ encourages all of his followers to be spiritually healthy and whole in Him. However, to ignore the effect that the pandemic has had on many from a spiritual perspective would be unfortunate to say the least. Many of my members have felt the effects which have led them to feel isolated, alone, and spiritually discouraged at times. As a spiritual leader, working along aside church leadership, we have instilled hope and spiritual encouragement to our members through prayer, virtual visitations, online prayer meetings, weekend virtual revival series, online memorial services, and encouraging phone messages. It has certainly encouraged me to spiritually grow along aside of them. I have learned as a pastor that God is doing a work in me just as much as he is doing a work in the hearts of my members. We must all learn to trust and depend on God because His desire is still to conform us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).
By Pastor Nakwan Kitching, Minneapolis First Church