a period, originally 40 days, of strict isolation imposed to prevent the spread of disease.
The disease the world is trying to prevent from spreading is COVID-19, but what about the harmful diseases that were spreading long before? Hatred, anger, separation, family brokenness, spiritual lukewarmness. We might think we’re home to prevent the spread of disease, but maybe there’s a bigger picture. Follow me through this thought process: If division, spite, strife, and comparison are not spreading, then maybe something else can…what if we flipped the purpose of quarantine? Instead of staying home to prevent the spread of disease, let’s stay home to promote the spread of the Gospel!
Today, we want to share a few practical tips on how to climb the Ladder of Success from home during COVID-19.
The starting point for anything in life is prayer. Pastor Cesar Castellanos has invited us to join him in praying three times a day, every day for the month of April. Daniel had the habit of praying three times a day, and when his enemies had orchestrated a plan for his death, his prayer life brought forth the opposite. We believe that prayer is the believer’s oxygen, so take time to breathe during this quarantine. Pastor Sara Castellanos challenged the youth ministry to pray once a day for a week, not for their own needs, but for someone who needs the Gospel. We don’t win someone for Jesus by sending them the link to our live stream, we win them in prayer. A few things you can do are:
- Write their name on a big piece of paper and tape it up on your prayer wall.
- Take 20 minutes every day to visualize that person encountering Jesus. Be specific in your visualization and confession!
- Pray with a friend. In Matthew 18:19, Jesus taught us about the power of praying in agreement. Create a buddy system with the people in your cell group to pray for those you want to reach.
After winning them in prayer, we step out in faith. Send them the link to your church`s live stream, share the link to a worship song, text them a Bible verse to lift their hopes, or take to social media to share the light. Peter extended his hand to the lame man at the temple gate called Beautiful and the man’s feet became strong (Acts 3). The Bible says he jumped up and entered the temple complex leaping and praising the Lord. Let’s stretch out our hands now so that when all of this is over, multitudes will enter the temple with us leaping and praising the Lord.
After our friend, co-worker, and/or family member has shown interest and joined an online meeting, we can build a deeper relationship with them. It’s exciting to innovate the way we connect and ¨do¨ church. In the traditional model, consolidation is where Life Class happens. My question for you is, What is the goal of Life Class? For the new believer to have a personal encounter with Jesus. Let me ask you another question, Is our God limited in the way He chooses to encounter His kids? Absolutely not! For Moses, God was a burning bush, for Abraham, a voice within, for Paul, a shining light that interrupted his plans. God is aching to encounter His people! I am fully convinced that He can, and will do so, through a screen, a song, a verse, a moment.
We could list all of the apps you could use to connect to people, instead, we want to give you some pointers.
- Consolidation is about caring for people, so focus more on talking with the person, rather than talking to the person (conversation > preaching). Schedule a 15-minute phone call to check up on the new believer, ask how they’re doing, how they’ve felt, and be ready to answer with wisdom and hope.
- Life Class is about an experience, so it’s a good idea to end the conversation with a simple ¨call to action¨. You can recommend a Bible Project video or one of your pastor’s sermons. If sadness and fear are creeping in because they spend all day in the news and on social media, help them create a schedule to stay focused on God. If they feel overwhelmed, teach them how to properly manage their time. A simple idea is to encourage them to journal. A powerful writing prompt to start the day is: ¨Today, I want to see God in ____¨, and one to end the day: ¨Today, I saw God in ____¨. This helps us look for God in our everyday lives, and I am certain He can be found there.
Our motto for Discipleship is ¨We are always learning¨, so the challenge these days is to look for ways to keep learning. Thankfully we live in the age of online learning, so that shouldn’t be too hard. Try something new as a cell group over a Zoom call; a new recipe, a workout, a special Bible study. As leaders, we need to stay connected to our pastors to learn from them. It’s a good time to dust off the bookshelf and read those books we´ve been putting off, study that portion of Scripture we´ve procrastinated on, and maybe even learn a little bit of Hebrew and Greek! Learning is enriching, and the stillness God is allowing us to live is for the purpose of filling us with more of Him. Six things you can do to disciple your team:
- Watch Pastor Cesar´s livestreams (translation to English is available for specific live streams, check here for details and updates).
- Read the same Bible plan as a team and discuss new revelations.
- Hear a sermon and compare notes.
- Assign a verse to each disciple of a chapter you want to study together, and give them each two minutes to preach on it.
- Fast together and pray at the same time every day.
- Via Zoom or a social media live stream lead a conversation about Scripture, answer questions and pray for their specific needs.
Jesus told His disciples to go into the world and make disciples of all nations. Because of their obedience, the Good News of Jesus reached you and I. Should we not do the same for those who are coming after us? Prayer and the internet know no limit, through these two tools we can answer the call and take the gospel to the ends of the earth. What better time to teach our disciples to be leaders, than now? Host a video call via Zoom or Google Hangouts with your disciples and their guests, and help them launch their online cell group!
In Romans 12 Paul said, ¨Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness¨ (verses 6-8). Let the designers design, the singers sing, the teachers teach, the givers give, the writers write, all for the glory and expansion of the kingdom of God!
Dear pastor, leader, and active church member, you are not alone. We are all trusting God and figuring it out as we go. The beauty is that we are one church, one body, and one people. We will grow stronger than ever and conquer like never before. Your living room is now your platform, your message is a banner of hope, and your prayer does more than you know.
¨And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.¨ (Galatians 6:9)