Recently, Pastor Kou Shaoen joined an interview where three Taiwanese pastors discussed the church’s response during the pandemic.
During the exchange, Pastor Kou and the three senior pastors from Taiwan discussed some of the contingency plans of the church during the pandemic. As pastors of churches that had already carried out some network ministry before the outbreak, they did not feel anxious or uneasy when they heard that churches would no longer be able to meet. They quickly adjusted and as pastors put all their attention on their online network.
Based on previous experience, they quickly made adjustments and found ways and means suitable for believers to gather online. They also summarized some points that should be noted because they can be helpful to others.
Transition to online gatherings
How to take the first step in developing online gatherings? "The church is a fellowship that practices the love of the Lord and where people love each other. Loving others is the most common practice in a life of faith. With the sudden arrival of the pandemic, those who are prepared will be able to continue moving forward, but the unprepared will collapse and not be able to respond," one of the pastors said.
What should we pay attention to when we meet online? The pastor reminded others that online gatherings are accompanied by physical gatherings, so there are two points to which we need to pay attention: What is a church? What is worship? The church is not the scattered believers who are worshipping casually online at home. Online gatherings enable worship to be held at the same time in different places, but we need to know that worship is holistic.
How does one attend an online gathering?
A pastor shared that he finds it easy for believers to do other things while listening to the sermon online, such as washing clothes, cooking, eating a burger, teasing pets ...
So the online Sunday worship is shortened to half an hour, fifteen minutes of worship and a fifteen-minute sermon, because there is a limit to how long listeners can focus on a screen. But after the meeting, there will be an online group meeting. Everyone has their own group and each group contains about 4 to 8 people. They mainly share and exchange information in this meeting.
Also at the usual time, they attend a prayer reading group which has had good success. In the prayer and reading group, the group members read a passage of scripture and pray for fifteen minutes a day.
Many believers admit that they like this group communication. Not only do they establish their relationship with God through his words, but they also get closer to each other. At the same time, in order to encourage interaction within the congregation, the church will also use a lot of live broadcast software (Zoom, Facebook, YouTube) where almost everyone is visible and people can interact with each other by name.
For the elderly and children, we also need to use online and onsite gatherings to shepherd them. We should teach the elderly to use a simple network tool to which they can become accustomed, and also visit them regularly.
A good time to evangelize
Because of the pandemic, the church can reach more people who have no faith. They actively come to the church because of their fear. During this time the church can be a stable force and help to bring peace to their hearts during this time.
By showing care and gratitude to medical staff and social workers, and showing their love (distributing disinfectants, flowers, crosses ...), people realize that Christians care about them and God loves them.
You do not necessarily require people to attend an evangelistic gathering. You can evangelize in many different ways. It is not to say that a retreat is referred to as evangelism, but you should have a heart for evangelism anytime and anywhere.
During the pandemic, you can make a manual on pandemic prevention for the people you meet. The manual is filled with the Word of God. People can use the manual to solve the problem of pandemic prevention, and also how to deal with marriage and all kinds of questions about life.
The pastors reminded everyone." "The pandemic will definitely pass, but don't lose the richness experienced in this process."
- Translated by Abigail Wu