If a local church is a representation of how Jesus can to be seen, what are people observing in a pandemic?
Online church has its advantages.
In my 40 years as a pastor in a local church I never appreciated what was happening in other churches. I was familiar with nationally recognized churches like Saddleback, Willow Creek, or The Meeting House. A few other churches’ innovations or programs were on my radar and I was vaguely aware of some local church events.
As a coach for pastors, I observe online services across Canada via Facebook or YouTube.
To be clear, I’m not a church hopper or church junkie. Part of my role is to help church leaders think about how they are sharing Jesus with the world. And I am curious about what God is getting credit for in his Church (and if God actually wants some of said credit).
Today, Sunday 31/01/21, I attended online church services in:
Jerusalem (our friend pastors this church and I wanted to see how COVID response is similar and different with Canada).
I check-in regularly with most of pastors of the following churches:
Woodstock and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.,
Whitecourt, Barrhead, Cold Lake, Killam, St. Paul, Edmonton, Spruce Grove, AB and
Here’s what I observed in the midst of a global pandemic.
- Each church evidenced varying levels of skill and technical proficiency but all were doing their best.
- All of the churches incorporated volunteers in making use of their skills and talents.
- Every participant looked sincere.
- Each pastor expressed love for her or his congregation and for God.
- All churches focused on Jesus.
- All involved young people in leadership.
- Each one shared teaching from the Bible.
One church hosted a conversation about mental health and where people could find support.
All but one church focused on how they were reaching out to their community in kindness, generosity and support services.
All churches, except one, honoured national or regional COVID health guidelines.
One church made exceptionally good use of PPE, hand wipes, masks, plexi-glass shields, physical distancing and gathering restrictions of 15% of capacity.
One church supported members in not wearing masks or physically distancing and acted in defiance of health authority restrictions.
Only one church made the national news on 31/01/21.
I don’t need to ask you to guess which one.
So what kind of representation is God getting?
The answer does depend on you.
You may be the only one observed by your family, your neighbors, your classmates or work associates. Church and Jesus look a lot like you.
Keep shining. Be loving. Speak kindly. Honor Jesus.
What are you observing about the local church? Please extend the conversation by sharing this post on your social media platforms and posting a comment below. Thank you.
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