How Should the Church Respond to Times of Crisis?

ForSuchaTimeasThisTheRoleoftheChurchinTimesofCrisis Article Image

In His famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5), Jesus calls His followers “the salt of the earth,” “the light of the world,” and a “city that is set on a hill.” You know, it’s easy to live out verses like these in good times—to stand at the door and welcome someone to church with a smile and a hug; to participate in a monthly outreach (both really awesome things!)—when the world is moving and churning like normal, but what happens to the city on a hill when the world pauses—or comes to a screeching halt?! What does the light of the world, the Church, look like when a crisis hits?

Much of the messaging from the world would have you dive head first into self-preservation and total isolation mode. Every man for himself, right? But what about Jesus? What would He do in times like this?

Servant Leadership vs. Self-Preservation

“While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ And immediately the leprosy left him.”—Luke 5:12–13 (NIV)

Now, to be clear, I’m not suggesting that you go around touching people who are sick—or even healthy for that matter! However, I believe Jesus’ example here shows us that He would never shy away from helping someone in need. And since we’re called to be imitators of Christ, we should also live with this kind of heart for people. Be safe, be responsible, but also be on the lookout for ways “to serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13). Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Helping an elderly neighbor who may not have a way of getting groceries by doing some shopping or helping them make a delivery order 
  • Ordering a meal for a friend who’s having a hard time with social distancing and “having dinner” with them through video chat (Galatians 6:2)
  • Checking in with your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers and seeing if anyone has needs that you can meet (Acts 2:44–45)
  • Making treats for first responders and dropping it off at a local station

Opportunities for Evangelism

While everyone right now is pretty much talking about nothing but COVID-19 and the effects it’s having on society, we have an unprecedented and unique opportunity to have conversations centered around something else: Jesus, the hope of nations, the prince of peace!

You’d be surprised by how open people are right now to having conversations centered around faith. As panic, anxiety, fear, and depression begin to take hold of the people around us, we can offer them true hope, peace, and rest. But it starts with us 1) clinging to the hope and confidence we have in Christ, not operating in “a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV), 2) being willing to strike up conversations with people we may not normally interact with (delivery carriers, neighbors, city workers currently working, etc.), and 3) having the holy boldness to engage in spiritual conversations. Here’s a great, simple practice that may lead to some divine appointments: •

  • Unless otherwise restricted or infected, walk around your neighborhood and intentionally pray for those around you. While keeping a healthy distance, strike up conversations, get to know your neighbors, ask them if they need prayer or have any current needs, reassure them in the Lord (2 Corinthians 1:3–5), and as the Spirit leads, share the gospel!

Fill Your Days with Prayer and the Word

Truthfully, we’re all likely to have a little more free time during this season. What better way to spend it than with Jesus, reading His Word, and talking to Him.

Consider developing a few habits and practices. There’s no hard-and-fast rules on what this looks like, but here are some ideas to start:

  • When you wake up, spend the first five minutes of your day with the Lord.
    • Pray a simple prayer.
    • Read or listen to a verse of the day, noting anything that stands out.
    • Think of one way to apply what God shows you.
    • Pray a simple prayer asking God to help you with what He shows you.
  • Spend 15 minutes reading for breadth (consuming an entire chapter or two of Scripture in one sitting).
  • Dedicate 30 minutes to reading for depth (dissecting a verse or two, or even a single sentence in a verse) in unrushed reflection.
  • Set aside 30 minutes for prayer. Come to this time with the full knowledge that the God of the universe is pausing and giving you His full attention, bending His ear to you, and sitting eye-to-eye with you!
    • Thank the Lord, praise the Lord, confess sin, share requests, struggles, questions, and apprehensions, and ask for wisdom, strength, patience, and peace. Pray for others! Pray for God’s will and work to be done in your life and in the lives of others.

As you dive deeper into your relationship with Him, I promise it will be a game-changer in the way you see yourself, others, and the world. As you spend time with Him consistently, He will “fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives” (Colossians 1:9–10 NIV).

And as we, the Church, as a whole press in and reach out, what will happen? We’ll see revival in our neighborhoods, churches, cities, and in our world! This is the time, this is the moment, and we are the people He has chosen “for such a time as this!” Let’s shine, Church, “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NKJV).

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.