Biblical Confidence in Quarantine

We find ourselves isolated from gathering together for an undetermined amount of time.  How will this affect our community?

We say we believe in the bible.  We hold orthodox theology.  We resist the temptation to water it down or change it for the culture around us.  We might even try to live by what it says, read it regularly, and learn more about it.  But do we really believe in the Bible?  What if believing in the Bible is more than just thinking that it’s true?  What if believing in the Bible means that we trust that it has a power to work in us and in other people? 

Sanitize your hands after you read your bible. You might catch something.

If you are like me, you were likely caught off guard by how quickly our lives were disrupted by the response to the coronavirus.  Within a week we went from watching about it on the news to living in something like quarantine.  I keep going back to this passage from Colin Marshall and Tony Payne’s book “The Trellis and The Vine,” one of the most influential books in how I think about ministry and the church. 

As we write, the first worrying signs of a swine-flu pandemic are making headlines around the world.  Imagine that the pandemic swept through your part of the world, and that all public assemblies of more than three people were banned by the government for reasons of public health and safety.  And let’s say that due to some catastrophic combination of local circumstances, this ban had to remain in place for 18 months. 

How would your congregation… continue to function—with no regular church gatherings of any kind, and no home groups (except for groups of three)…?  How would the regular work of teaching and preaching and pastoring take place?  How would the congregation be encouraged to persevere in love and good deeds, especially in such trying circumstances?”

The Trellis and the Vine, Colin Marshall and Tony Payne.

We find ourselves isolated from gathering together for an undetermined amount of time.  How will this affect our community?  Will we loose connection?  Grow distant?  Become more isolated?  Or will we come out stronger on the other end?  What if, instead of hunkering down in our bunkers, we took this opportunity to read the bible and pray with one another?  What if we believed in the Bible not just as a document of true statements, but as a living and active word that changes lives.

I’ve not found anything more impactful in all my time of ministry than simply opening up the bible.  The Swedish Bible Study Method is one of the easiest and most fruitful ways I’ve found to get into the text of the bible and apply it in life.  You can use this at home with your spouse or children, one on one with a friend who hasn’t become a Christian yet, or with another believer in the church.  What would it look like if each of us chose one or two people to meet with (or video chat with) just to read the bible and to pray? 

Marshall and Payne close their book with this:

It would be a lot of personal contact, and a lot of one-to-one meetings to fit in.  But remember, there would be no services to run, no committees, no parish council, no seminars, no home groups, no working bees—in fact, no group activities or events of any kind to organize, administer, drum up support for, or attend.  Just personal teaching and discipling, and training your people in turn to be disciple-makers.

Here’s the interesting question: after 18 months, when the ban was lifted and you were able to recommence Sunday gatherings and all the rest of the meetings and activities of church life, what would you do differently?”  

THE TRELLIS AND THE VINE, COLIN MARSHALL AND TONY PAYNE.

Published by boydmonster

I am an unworthy pastor in an exciting church humbled by where God is calling me to be.

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