When Will the Church Open?
For weeks now President Trump has been begging for churches to open up. From the beginning, he expressed his desire to get the churches packed for Easter. It would be a great thing. It would be a beautiful thing.
Remember? He acknowledged Easter would be too soon, but for the last few weeks, President Trump has said it was time for churches to responsibly reopen. He declared churches essential. However, for the most part, churches have remained closed.
Hairdressers have opened back up. Restaurants are opening back up. Grocery stores and hardware stores never closed.
Where do churches fall in the pecking order of essential?
Why Today’s Church is Unessential
The problem I have with churches remaining closed is not that they are closed; it is the reasons they give. They defer to the governors that are still requesting us to be closed. We are awaiting permission from the state. We feel it may put our people in danger. We don’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers.
What I haven’t heard (and I’m sure there are some exceptions) is that they have prayed, and still have felt now is not the time.
Every answer I hear tells me that these churches are not really essential. They give the impression that they are being led by consensus instead of Divine leading. They would rather be directed by the governmental laws and the opinions of the press than following the examples of Peter and John saying they needed to follow God (Acts 4:19).
The Church Should Be the Example of Lives Filled with God
Church is more than teaching the word of God or spending time in worship. If that was all it was, we can all stay at home and watch online. No, pastors are called to lead people into connecting with God and to show them how to impact their world.
During this season, the church has been given an opportunity to be an example to the world that we serve a living God. He is bigger than this virus. He is bigger than all the confusion and gives us peace. And, more importantly, He has conquered death and the grave.
We have had a chance to walk forth in faith. For the most part, churches have been no different than any other organization.
- John the Baptist spoke out against King Herod for marrying his brother’s wife.
- Elijah spoke out against the evil done by Ahab and Jezebel.
- Moses went before Pharaoh to demand the freedom of the Israelites.
- Where is the outcry for the church today?
What Will Awaken the Church?
The only outcry I have seen by the churches is for the killing of George Floyd. While this was terrible, does nobody find it strange about the timing? This happens just days after Biden states that if you haven’t decided to choose him over Trump, “you ain’t black.” Just a couple weeks before that, Jaden Hayden, videotaped himself beating his 75 year old white male patient in a Detroit nursing home. There was no church outcry about these events.
I haven’t heard the press worry over the potential resurgence of Covid cases as the protesters have not been wearing masks or concerned about their shouting chants. But the churches are fine with the restrictions of not allowing singing when they meet and limiting people to at most 100 people for fear of being super-spreader environments.
Please don’t mishear me. All death is terrible. Racism is real and is an abomination before God. This isn’t about Trump saying churches should open or not.
However, the church is being swept under the rug as having nothing to offer of value to the world.
- How long will the church wait?
- How safe do we need it to be?
- What things are we willing to part with to appease these new laws?
- What will we need to do to make the world see we have something of value?
What Should the Church Do?
Suicide rates are sky-rocketing across the nation. People are getting angry not being able to work and provide for themselves and their family. Marriages and families are struggling with the forced time together without tools to handle it. Why are we doing sitting on our hands waiting for permission?
This is not a post about whether the church should open or not; it is about looking to God and stepping out in faith. Maybe it will be right for your church not to open, but your faith journey may take you door to door delivering food to families in need. Maybe your faith journey would be partnering with hospitals to offer prayer and support to families who can’t visit their loved ones that have been admitted. I’m sure it will be different for each church. The possibilities are endless.
Whatever it is, God will join you in the process. It will stretch you to uncomfortable places. But, through that journey, Jesus will be found and given away to others. I believe this is the pathway toward essential.