Coronavirus: Seven Simple Ways the Church Can Provide Covid Care

note: This is a guest post by NCD pastor Larry Orth (Pastor of Care & Community Outreach, Calvary Evangelical Free Church in Rochester)

This is not the March Madness most of us anticipated. However, the Covid-19 pandemic offers God’s people a unique privilege and responsibility of pointing everyone to Jesus as humanity’s only hope.  We have a new normal for what appears to be at least a few months in time. Here are seven simple ways we can care for those around us:

  1. Provide care and prayer “visits” via phone, email, Skype, or Facebook. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you to people in your network of friends, relatives, neighbors, and colleagues to simple, loving words and acts. I’ve had more phone and facetime interaction over the past few days than I had in three months prior. (Colossians 4:5-6)
  2. Communicate hope in Christ to those around you. Post Scripture and other positive words, promoting faith, not fear, and prayer over worry. People are being inundated by negative messages all day. You can be a light of hope to them. (1 Peter 3:15)
  3. Your small group, the body of Christ, should continue to meet to encourage each other in the Word regularly through creative means. Yesterday our group met via conference call; next week we will graduate to Zoom. I’m not a techy person, but I’m learning fast! (Hebrews 10:23-25)
  4. Ramp up your time with Jesus in the Bible. Do not neglect your meeting with him. My kids are sharing group family texts of encouraging Scriptures and applications, as the Spirit strengthens them from their daily time with God. (John 8:31-32)
  5. Maintain a generous spirit. My wife Dianne and I plan to continue supporting all ministries at their current levels; only if we experience actual reduction of income will we consider proportionally reduced giving. Our faith is being tested, brothers and sisters. Do we really believe that the unseen world is permanent and the visible one is temporal? (Matthew 6:19-21)
  6. Meet practical needs of those around you, in faith, sharing ourselves and our stuff when we are most tempted to cloister and hoard. Adhering to recommended health practices is wise, but let’s face it: we can’t cover every contingency. Meaningful life is risky. God may on occasion ask you to reach beyond your comfort zone. And that extra toilet paper you bought? Be open to God’s gentle voice telling you to share. The generous one will prosper (Proverbs 11:25). (Galatians 6:9-10)
  7. Respect where many are coming from. If it weren’t for Christ, I would be seriously worried; there is every human reason for people without Jesus to worry. By being empathetic and compassionate we can enter people’s world, as Jesus did. I find myself praying often throughout the day (even more than pre-Covid-19). When prompted by the Spirit, offer to pray for those who express fear and worry, and trust God to give you the words. (Philippians 4:4-9)

I find myself often wishing this mad trial was over, but then the Spirit reminds me that this is God’s time to shine through his glorious bride by offering real and lasting help and hope to our broken world. Few ways are more effective than providing practical care in Jesus’ name.

By Larry Orth, D.Min., Pastor of Care & Community Outreach, Calvary Evangelical Free Church, Rochester, Minnesota 3/16/2020