For many people, the crisis caused by COVID-19 really hit home when they walked into a store around the second weekend of March only to find bare shelves. That’s not something we’re familiar with in America. Since that time, everything has changed from what we knew before. How can we navigate these waters personally and help those entrusted to our care? How can we let people know that Jesus is our refuge and can be theirs as well?
We don’t know what the future holds. Will summer ministries such as Vacation Bible School and Christian camps be open? Will parents be willing to send their children?
What individual believers, children’s ministry leaders, and churches do now will be remembered. The current crisis is our opportunity to demonstrate not only our trust in God but also His love and care for others. Our world needs believers to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10).
Here are six things to do in the midst of the crisis.
- Know that it’s okay to be honest with the struggles people may have (and with your own struggles as well). A quick glance through Psalms shows that pain and struggle are real, even for those who love God and follow Him (e.g., Psalms 10; 22; 61).
- Intentionally focus and meditate on Scriptures that show God is still over it all, and lead others to focus on them as well (e.g., Psalms 46:1; 56:3; Hebrews 13:5). In many psalms, after the psalmist is honest about his struggle, meditating on truths about God restores the psalmist’s hope. Try praying Scriptures such as these back to God. Share them with families, and comfort children with them.
- Realize that your ministry is in a strategic position! In this climate of crisis, families and children may be more aware of their need for Jesus than ever before. Jesus loves the children in our communities (Mark 10:14–16). Right now, they may especially realize their need for the Savior, our refuge and strength.
- Be encouraged that remote ministry can be powerful. This is not as new as it may seem to us. Remember the example of the apostle Paul, who wrote several letters from prison, since he couldn’t be physically with his audience.
- Also be encouraged that believers have an unprecedented number of tools for sharing God’s love, compassion, and the gospel with others without being present. You could use social media and apps—the list of platforms is almost endless. Email is another option, and the phone can be a trusty standby. Your contacts with children and families can be a wonderful catalyst for drawing people to the Savior.
- Finally, consider the practical silver lining in this situation. The crisis might be a chance for church leadership to step back, review health safety practices, and ask if there are ways a stronger culture for health safety could be developed in the church. Many helpful resources for faith-based organizations are listed on the CDC website. As families see that you have safety in mind, they will be reassured.
Times like these remind believers of the need for God’s grace! He can be your refuge, giving you all the strength, ability, and wisdom you need as you share His love and the gospel with others. Through the truth of God’s Word and a little flexibility, your ministry can still be a special part of God’s work in drawing families and children to Jesus.
Josh Mason is RBP’s creative manager of Vacation Bible School.