This blog is part four of the ‘Hope Experts’ series, a topic we’ll explore throughout 2020.
The first five verses of the fifth chapter of Romans are a bombshell in face of pandemic.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
I haven’t had a lot of “Character-Building” experiences that I’ve particularly enjoyed in the moment. My go-to story for the last decade has been the experience of getting laid off in 2009, wrestling with fear, and eventually uprooting my family to move to Maryland…where I found a church plant to contribute to, eventually work for, and that referred me to Stadia Church Planting. My trust that God would be glorified in whatever happened next was challenged deeply, but I persevered, which I guess built character. In the end, it built my muscles of hope, and now, I, too, boast in the HOPE of the glory of God.
This is my fourth article about Christians being HOPE EXPERTS. I believe that to be true because there is but one constant source of hope: Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
So, let’s keep asking the question about how we can help develop as HOPE EXPERTS and help others enter into that expertise. Romans 5:3&4 gives us a framework for what we can do right now. Everyone in your congregation is experiencing some negative impact from the COVID-19 Pandemic. Some are just missing their usual meals out and happy hours, but others may be sick, losing loved ones, losing jobs, shuttering small businesses and so on. Everyone is impacted, suffering so to speak.
That means everyone in your congregation has the opportunity to persevere, build character, and thereby build hope. How are you promoting perseverance and celebrating how it is building character and hope?
Here are a couple ideas to think about:
- Bridge the gap. Are there people who need help running errands? My parents are fortunately able to order grocery delivery, but not everyone has means like that. Put together a team of people who can call as many people as possible (everyone?) in your database to see if they need groceries or medicines picked up. Are there people out of work? You may not be able to help them financially, but you can help them have purpose. Ask them to be on or even lead a team like the aforementioned one. You may even identify a future staff member!
- Broaden their vision. When you’re stuck in your house with the same four people for weeks on end, it gets really easy to be myopic, and myopic thinking often leads to anxiety and depression. There is hope out there. Join us at https://www.weeklypastorpoll.com/stadia/to see how the situation is changing, and tell your congregants the stories of hope!
- Keep it personal. Frequent, selfie-style videos are trending right now because they work. They are relatable. Heck, Global Citizen just put together an epic concert experience from the living rooms of starts everywhere. Let your congregation in on your life a little bit. Showing your life in an authentic, casual way shows your congregation that we’re in this together, and you can encourage your church that the hope we have in Jesus will help us persevere.
Since 2003, Matt has been involved as a volunteer leader and/or staff member in the early stages of four church plants. Two of these churches benefited from Stadia, so he has experienced first-hand how partnering with Stadia benefits churches. Matt has his MBA and has worked in project management in the medical research and development field. Previously Matt has served Stadia as the Director of Global Church Planting and Operations Executive. His passion is to maximize church planting through leadership and bringing clarity to the leaders he serves.