Church planters are my heroes. These are men (and families) who have stepped out in faith to take the name of Jesus to a city that predominately does not profess his name—truly inspirational. They have heeded the call that God has placed on their lives and said, “Yes,” I’ll go.
But almost overnight, everything a church planter knows and has been taught changed. How do you do evangelistic outreach events when there is a shelter-in-place order? How do you begin the “regathering the church” conversation when the place you have been meeting will not let you back in, and it might be another few months before they even entertain that conversation? Are my partner churches that are giving us monthly support going to stop giving because their finances are tight? These are the types of questions church planters are asking. There is a faithfulness in knowing God has called them to plant this church. But there is also a fearfulness not knowing exactly how COVID-19 is going to place itself out.
Picture this. At the start of 2020 you are excited. You’re excited because you are finally at the place for which you have been preparing for the last 6-9 months. You have started meeting with your core team and you have a game place for what these first few months of a church are going to look like. Then COVID-19 hit. What do you do?
The exciting thing for our SBTC church planting team is that we have seen planters in this exact scenario who have not given up hope, but instead have adapted to what is going on around them. They have modified their plans but not their message. Their message of a lost world needing the hope of Jesus has not changed. It has driven them to be all the more resilient. Are there questions that still need to be answered? Absolutely. Are the answers to some of those questions coming slower than they might like? Yes. But this is the very reason God has called them. At a time such as this, these heroes and faithful families are standing in the gap and calling those who are far from God to repentance. The methods may be changing, but the message stays the same.