Let me reiterate a secret to all preachers and teachers out there. Preaching is least means of influencing people. Teaching is the best means of influencing people. Preaching has several flaws, including: The preacher cannot impart more than they know; preaching focuses only on one perspective, the preacher's; there is no way of correcting error in preaching (if the message or doctrine is erroneous, everyone flows with it, sadly); it shrinks creativity, listeners can't think beyond what they heard; and preaching is mostly directed at the heart, it fails to renew the mind, and so on.
Teaching, on the other hand, does the following: It expands learning (through research); both the teacher and the student grow - they are able to probe issues further; there is little room for one-sided perspective, students can raise questions and object to what is not doctrinally correct; teaching renews the mind; teaching warrants creativity - that's why in the world, students have gone on innovating and creating new things; knowledge expands and is protected through teaching it from generation to generation, and so on.
Consider all founders of great religions, they are all great teachers. Then consider Jesus' final injunction: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen."
You make converts by preaching; but you make disciples by teaching. Preach to people who are not believers, but teach believers. Or structure your sermons to be 90% teaching, and only 10% preaching.
1. The Covid-19 outbreak is not the end of the world; it’s one of the signs of the beginning of the end. Consider Matthew 24: 7-8: “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, PESTILENCES, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” Covid-19 (“pestilences”) is just like earthquakes or famine or wars. When we see these things, we don’t say that it’s the end; they depict the beginning of the end. Consider a woman who is pregnant and about to give birth. The cervical effacement (thinning) and dilation (opening) must be 100 percent effaced and 10 cm dilated before a vaginal delivery. This is because during the first stage of labor, the cervix opens and thins out to allow the baby to move into the birth canal. In scatological terms, “pestilences” are like the first stages of vaginal labor. We could say, a woman is 2 cm dilated. According to the Bible, the last sign of the end is the Gospel spreading. This is like the 10 cm dilation: “And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
2. The Covid-19 outbreak is not the subtle way of introducing the Mark of the Beast (“666”). The Mark of the Beast (MOB) is not a disease; it’s the number of a Man, a leader: “This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666,” (Rev. 13:18). Note that this calls for “wisdom” and interpretation. Unwise or less detailed or the ignorant will not decipher this. Review of the Bible shows that MOB will be revealed during the “Seventh Trumpet [Third and Last Woe]”, and this is far away before the “Seven Angels with Seven Plagues” have been released, see (Rev. 15:1 ff). the Anti-Christ and MOB will be a Man who will emerge probably from Union of Nations in Europe, and subsequently claim his throne in Jerusalem (“Abomination that Causes Desolation “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination of desolation,’ described by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand),” (Matthew 24:15)). At that time, he will unify the economic transaction system and exalt the chip technology. The saints would have been taken or raptured” by then, so those who did not believe and backsliders will know what will happening. It will be clear. But it is not now – although the pandemic proves that God’s Word is true and that Jesus has set in motion the end of days!
3. Preach that Christians should not fear the pandemic but they should not be ignorant of how it spreads and that they should take precautions. Telling people to continue their lives as usual without taking precautions like self-isolation, social distancing or staying at home, is like tempting God. God only protects you if you don’t know that what you are drinking is poison or if you are going through persecution: “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover,” (Mark 16:18). Note here that when you are inadvertently bitten by a snake or you mistakenly drink poison, or you get infected by the Covid-19 even after taking all the precautions, you can have people pray for you to be healed. Similarly, if God has provided you with smart physicians, experts and scientists, that is His will to inform you so that you don’t die because of ignorance: “…my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge,” (Hosea 4:6). Lack of knowledge will kill you, so will be willful blindness to the spread of Covid-19. The pastor’s job during the Covid-19 pandemic is to warn and educate their congregation to know about the Covid-19, take precaution, avoid crowding (do social distance, isolation and etc.). It is not faith to know the dangers of the disease and still subject yourself to its venom; such people will surely die.
4. Preaching in church buildings is not necessary; it is a convenience. Jesus Himself educated and advised: “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. But a time is coming and has now come when the TRUE worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such as these to worship Him. God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth,” (John 4:22-24). The building is not a designated place of worship under New Testament Guidelines; it’s a place of convenience. However, during a pandemic like Covid-19, a church building or physical meeting becomes an inconvenience and even dangerous. God will still be there when you remotely “gather or assemble”, “…because where two or three have come together in my name, I am there among them," (Matthew 18:20). The Bible was written before the introduction of social media, cellphones, TV, and so on. Now we know that with these advanced forms of technology, we can “gather” remotely and achieve the same purpose gathering physically achieves. Therefore, and in these Covid-19 times, it is wiser and better not to meet physically in church; utilize all forms of technology out there. If you preach that it is “holy” and “obedience’ and “faith” to gather physically when you know it is not bad, it is not only unwise, it is sin: “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them,” (James 4:17).
5. The primary, unsaid, reason why most pastors are afraid of Covid-19 and the need for social distancing and so on, is not spiritual, it is financial. This is not an unreasonable fear; most churches depend on tithes and offerings from those who frequent and attend their physical congregations. Covid-19 and the requirement to social distance, may not only portend danger but may also take away the only means of survival most church leaders know. So, it is a big challenge. I think that when measures for social distancing, and especially the proscription of more than 50 people to gather are prescribed, Ministers of Gospel and similarly-situated professions should be taken into account. It is wrong, for example, to proscribe more-than-50 gatherings and then not to provide an economic survive kit to such affected professionals. How then will they feed their families, pay bills, and basically live. In this case, the cure will be more deadly than the pandemic.
There must be both political will and common-sensical idealization required for church leaders to survive the pandemic financially. The following are just suggestions:
(a) Adopt online church or via social media or phone (phone)
(b) As members to continue giving offerings via email Interac, direct deposit, or whatever paid system of money transfer available locally or internationally
(c) Access government stimulus/rescue money to pay workers (payroll), rent and run other services, if your government has the capacity
(d) My advice is that large churches with bigger/fat banking savings now give back to the small local churches if those local churches cannot meet their budgets because of maximum 50 people required for gatherings.
(e) Trust God for uncommon and unusual ways of delivering your food and money for needs, consider, “You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there,” (1 Kings 17:4)
(f) Pray, and God can do far more than you can ask or imagine, consider, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20)
(g) Be creative and ask from charities, NGOs or foundations set up for such needful times, consider, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you,” (Matthew 7:7)
(h) But don’t crook people, lie to people or use people or expose them to Covid-19 without disclosing the real motive for such risky maneuverings
(i) Don’t disobey the law put in place by your Government. When you disobey and you suffer, don’t say that God is allowing you to be through persecution. It is just an unwise approach and is not sanctioned by God, consider, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities (“the Law”), for there is no authority except that which is from God. The authorities that exist have been appointed by God. Consequently, the one who resists authority is opposing what God has set in place, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13:1-2)
(j) As a Minister, don’t succumb to temptations, do good always, “…if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it…” (1 Peter 3:14).
6. Tailor your message and preach in context, towards a unifying, knowledge-based and Christ-glorifying message. It is not the role of the Ministers of Gospel (pastors, and etc.) to pay people money or create jobs for people; that is the reasons Governments are elected to do. The clergy’s job is summarized in the following: “…to equip the saints for works of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ…” (Ephesians 4:12-13). It is a two-fold objective with three transcendental outcomes (unifying, knowledge-based and Christ-glorifying message):
(a) To Equip the body – or to prepare, teach, school the members in the relevant doctrine. This also includes taking the available guidelines from Government and encourage the members to follow it. Teach them to obey the law and keep away from sin (remember, sin is the transgression of the law); and
(b) To build-up or encourage – the Covid-13 period is the ultimate moment to encourage the members. Most people are discouraged, afraid and hopeless. Your job is to lift up their spirit, encourage them to obey the law (and not to disregard it) and to give them direction when they seem lost. And of course, to cerebrate death and provide last prayer, if some succumb to the virus.
Ministers of the Gospel should stay close to achieving these goals during their Covid-19 period ministration.
I am well with the Lord’s gracious providence
I will not be ashamed in this chosen province
Your Word has come to my beaming heart
You have spoken, and You have set me apart
I will forever be called, “Blessed in the land,”
My offspring shall increase within Your band
In Your presence, I will find lasting pleasure
At Your side daily, I will discover real treasure
And those who fight against me, shall surely falter
Those who remain stubborn, You will scatter
For the kindness of the Lord has graced me
His benefits in this world, I will, indeed, live to see
Oh, joy of understanding that I have everything
The peace of knowing I will be defeated by nothing
Even my accuser will bow before You in shame
The one who stands with me will stand in fame
For if it has not been for the goodness of You
I would have no confidence, no rewards due,
I know that Your mercies will carry me through
Your grace lifts me, and makes me great, too!
1. Life lived entirely on feasting (food)
2. Life lived entirely on drinking (alcoholism)
3. Life lived entirely on merrymaking (parties, sex, carousing, etc.)
4. Life lived entirely on apparels (clothes, jewelry, fashion, make-ups, etc.)
It's simple to change to a meaningful life: Add God first and foremost; manage the four above in moderation; and be thankful for each day you are alive.
Copyright © 2012 - 2020 Charles Mwewa - All Rights