We are a Better Church because of COVID
By Dean Honeycutt
A year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, and we went into a tailspin. We prepared for the worst and tried to make decisions as best we could. It seemed like everyone had an opinion about what to do, but honestly, some of the state mandates did not make much sense. We stopped gathering inside the church and we went Facebook live and had outdoor drive-up services. We did 16 services like this until we decided it was time to gather again. I remember a young lady going to the altar on a Wednesday night praying “Lord we have got to get back in church.” And praise God we did. May, 17 we went back inside for Sunday School and worship. We sparingly followed all the guidelines for group gatherings. Our approach was to go forward in faith and trust God. And I have absolutely no regrets.
Some things you just cannot control and a virus is one of them. I learned that you cannot stop something that you cannot see. As a pastor, I could not prevent people from getting sick, but what I could do is be faithful and encourage God’s people to live by faith. In Acts chapter 5 the Jews are trying to stop the Apostles from preaching in the name of Jesus and a doctor of the law named Gamaliel says if this work is of God you “cannot overthrow it.” How true that is. Mandates and orders could not stop us from meeting and worshipping our Savior. Sure, we had some sickness and experienced some difficult times but what Christian era has not had its share of tribulation? The Lord He is God and what He purposes cannot be stopped. As Job struggled in his sickness, he said “who can hinder God, or who can question what God is doing?”
COVID-19 is a birth pain that Jesus told us was coming. Yet the church was unprepared. I praise God that He helped me navigate these difficult waters. If I would have listened to what the experts were saying we would still be out of the church. It is better to obey God rather than man. Navigating these turbulent times was by no means easy, I have seen the hand of God move and the Holy Spirit Guide decisions and the weather. On one occasion we had some sickness, and I did not feel well but praise God we had two Sundays of bad weather and slick road conditions where we could not gather. This two-week period allowed many of our members including myself to stay at home and get to feeling better. This was the hand of God helping me and our church. God has been so good to me and I praise Him.
In Acts chapter sixteen the Holy Spirit of God forbid Paul to preach in Asia, and then God did not allow Paul to go to Bithynia. Instead in a Vision, Paul saw a man of Macedonia saying, “come over into Macedonia and help us.” God is sovereign over all things. God can stop events from happening and God can start them. My adult child was sick and not feeling well. They had lost their taste and smell, and I just knew it was COVID. I did not want to miss church, and I did not want to stop gathering. I just knew that if my child were positive for COVID then we would all be quarantined. So, they went and got tested and the test result came back negative. Praise God. The Lord took care of that and blessed me and my family. I am not saying that I may never be quarantined, but praise God so far, the Lord has delivered us. The Lord has been so good to us this year.
The Lord has blessed our little church. We do things a little differently now but honestly, I praise God for the changes we made. We are honestly a better church because of Covid. I thank God we will not go back to normal. We try to focus on what is important prayer and preaching. The Bible says it is by the foolishness of preaching that people are saved. I have seen God move this year and work in the lives of those who love Him. If God chooses to use a birth pain to do a “little weeding in the garden” then praise God. He knows what He is doing. It is not my job to keep people in Church. If the Holy Spirit does not convict them, then they do not belong in the family. That is what the Bible says, “the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the child of God.”
I have seen faithful men and women with compromised immune systems and diabetes come to church Sunday after Sunday. You know God has a remnant. Did you know that not a single person passed into eternity without God’s permission? Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” We spend so much trying to save our lives than lose them for the Lord Jesus Christ. God is in control and He alone sits on the throne.
I want to encourage you to live by faith trusting in God alone. The Bible says, “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it.” True Churches will prevail because they are supported by overcomers. Overcomers like you and me who love the Lord so much that they will gather and worship the Lord Jesus Christ during adversity. Jesus Christ will “present to Himself a glorious Church.” COVID-19 is part of that process of the Lord Jesus purging His Church for His glory. That is why we can honestly say true God-fearing churches will benefit from this pandemic. We will be stronger. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” For we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ who loves us.
God bless you and we love you,
Pastor Dean Honeycutt shepherds Snow Hill Baptist Church in Bakersville, NC. He may be reached at 828-385-0213, email@example.com, or visit their website at www.snowhillbaptist.com.
You can read more good Christian news from Dean HERE.