What Can We Learn From the Persecuted Church?
While how we attend church on a weekly basis is looking a little different during the Coronavirus crisis, there are some amazing organisations out there helping people make it easier for Christians to fellowship together in small groups in homes.
While Christians in Australia aren’t being forced into lockdown out of persecution, Open Doors CEO Mike Gore shared on Vision Christian Radio that there is actually a lot we can learn from the persecuted Church who have been operating in House Churches for decades.
“The funny thing is that we often say that the persecuted nations meet in homes. But the reality is that it’s part of the normal mechanics and rhythms of church in those nations. It’s not as if they go ‘because we’re persecuted we have to do this’, they’re not even used to centralised fellowship gatherings.”
Mike shares that Open Doors has a heart not only to support Christians in persecuted countries, but also to help the Church in Australia navigate this new way of fellowshipping which may last for as long as 12 months.
Open Doors has created a set of free weekly downloadable resources for people who want to run House Churches in their homes.
“The resources are really created to help Pastors. They’re not to be a para-church or something separate. The reality is, that I believe looking over the next twelve months, if I put myself in the shoes of a Pastor – one of the hardest things is just going to be keeping the Church community together and doing pastoral services.”
“So what we’re trying to do is to take the worry out of creating content on a weekly basis, giving them something they can hopefully rely on.”
“We’re not making it all about the persecuted Church every week. We’re trying to learn from them as mentors. But we’re also not trying to undermine or undercut Church leadership, we really want to be complimentative to help all of us get through this next season.”
For more information and to sign up for these free house church resources, visit the House Church by Open Doors website.
Preaching to Empty Auditoriums
Pastor Jeff Vines shares his perspective on what it’s like to preach to an empty auditorium, while reminding us that it’s now more important than ever to continue meeting, even if we have to find new ways of doing it.
For the first time in modern history, many Pastors around the world are finding themselves in the position of having to preach to an empty auditorium. What does it feel like to have no crowd?
“A huge part of the art of communication is reading your audience”, says Jeff. “You often allow them to help you decide what direction to take, and particularly to know if your jokes are going over well!”
While an empty auditorium is not ideal, Jeff points out that in a crisis, more people than ever are turning to the church for answers.
“Suffering and illness is not something any of us ever want to see”, continues Jeff. “But we can use these tragedies to teach people to pray, and to point as many people to God as possible.”
Jeff believes it is often seasons of suffering that wakes people up to what really matters. When we are living a life of affluence and peace, it’s very easy to become spiritually lazy. This is the time for the church to lead, and we all need to work together as best we can to defeat this disease.
“We need to find ways of caring for each other, without spreading this disease”, Jeff says. “When our church meets together online, there are 20,000 people coming together at once. We must be good citizens and save lives.”
But Jeff also believes God inspires the church to be ready for what’s coming. God is always preparing the way for the gospel to go out, regardless of the political or social events that are happening around us.
“God does not promise us protection, even when what we are doing is honest and true. People have always been persecuted for the sake of the Gospel”, Jeff continues. “We should come together whenever and however we can, whether it be in a small group, a life group or in our homes watching. But we must continue to honour the sacrifice that Jesus made for us all.”
But Jeff reminds us, there is no guaranteed protection against suffering for doing the right thing. However, he believes we all have a responsibility to do it anyway.
Jeff Vines is heard weekdays on Laif FM
Coronavirus and our Team
In response to our Government’s advice most of our team are staying home this week. Our radio broadcasts will continue as usual but you won’t hear our usual announcing team.
Now more than ever the leaders of our nation need our prayers of support as the responsibility to lead our nation through these uncertain times falls on their shoulders. There is no handbook to guide them (apart from the Bible) as no one has faced having to make these decisions before.
The reality they face is there are no ‘right’ answers. The government are just trying to choose the least worst answer and for that, and everything, they need to hear from God.
As soon as possible we will get back to normal but in the meanwhile we ask you to continue to follow the recommendations to keep you and your loved ones safe. Click here for the latest information.