Case Studies

Movements are Responding to COVID-19 – Part 1

Movements are Responding to COVID-19 – Part 1

– Compiled by Dave Coles –

The whole world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Different nations, areas and groups have been hit in different ways. A single virus has brought a wide range of results and responses. While fear and self-protection dominate many hearts around the globe, God’s children in Church Planting Movements are responding by looking for ways to manifest God’s kingdom in this challenging situation.  “We are all in the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat.”

“We are all in the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat.”

Movement leaders from various parts of the world have shared some of the responses below among God’s people in their respective locations.

A leader in Africa says: “People are thinking about their neighbors intentionally – both physical and spiritual needs.”  A leader in South Asia shares: “We are feeding as many as we can because Jesus fed the needy; then we tell them that Jesus also gave spiritual food and ask if they want spiritual food. I’ve never seen so many people coming to faith as they are during this lockdown.” Another leader describes the sacrifice of some, in order to bless others: “At present we have 30 people giving out food by sacrificing one meal a day.”

This approach of open-handed blessing in the name of the Lord is bearing gospel fruit in many places.

This approach of open-handed blessing in the name of the Lord is bearing gospel fruit in many places. Another leader in Asia says: “We have started 35 new house churches since lockdown and fed about 3000 people. Many of them came to Christ and we plan to do follow-up after the lockdown even as they disperse to other provinces. We are encouraging believers to bless neighbors, pray for them, and visit in small numbers. Every house church has taken initiative to bless their neighbors. Almost every day, believers are going out, and so far have shared with 4000 people, and 634 have believed.”

Again, from South Asia: “Our national partners have done a great job identifying opportunities to meet needs and delivering food. They have also taken every opportunity to share the gospel and have seen numerous salvations across the field. There have even been a few baptisms in spite of the lockdown! The food distribution is opening a natural opportunity to share the gospel and follow up. Our leaders have been extremely careful and conscious of local restrictions on social distancinging and in many cases have received special passes from officials to deliver food.”

Another Asian leader reports: “Many of our leaders have been serving and making food for their neighbors, without us telling them; they were willing to share and saw the need.” He adds: “We need to focus on discipling people; it is very easy to get [positive responses] right now but we need to feed them with the word of God.”

Movement leaders are seeking God’s wisdom for opportunities – not only for the present crisis, but afterward as well. One African leader says: “We are learning to be creative in moving forward and responding to the crisis by using all the opportunities to reach those in our area. We are praying we will be well-prepared for the harvest when the crisis ends.” Another adds: “Big challenges produce big miracles. We are planning out what God wants us to do after the crisis ends. There is a huge opportunity.”

In many places, people are turning to God in fresh ways: “People are desperate to hear from the Lord. People recognize the urgency – seeing the number of deaths globally. There are a lot of prayer initiatives.”

God is also using the crisis to connect movements with others in new ways. One leader reports: “In the past, churches with buildings didn’t like DMM. Now these churches are being forced to the house church model and are asking us for help. We are out almost everyday to help those leaders keep engaging their people. We are training them how to do house church.” Another shares: “We have been given greater access to media by the government. In most places we don’t have internet, but we can do a teleconference with 7 people. We meet with all of them every two weeks, and they meet with each other every week. We have a Bible study that can be shared over the phone.” 

These are a few of the ways movements are responding to COVID-19. We praise God for the ways he is working through his people to show his glory in the midst of this pandemic. [LINK to PART 2]

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