Bella Vista Church of Christ



Ken Jones



  Without doubt, COVID-19 has presented us with challenges never before seen in modern times. This is truly a pandemic—a worldwide threat. No one has escaped entirely. But in our nation, the mixture of politics has brought infighting that became truly volatile. We can be justifiably concerned with what America will look like a year from now.


  But the part that troubles me most has to do with church assemblies, or the lack thereof. I’m thankful for the technology that provides even stop-gap solutions. Yet, there’s a real danger here and I believe Satan has slithered his way in and is using this to cause damage to the Cause of Christ. He loves to fish in troubled waters.


  God, in his infinite wisdom, knew that humans depend on close-knit fellowship, so he planned for us to meet together in congregational settings. This allows for a depth of comradeship that no amount of live-streaming can bring to the table. Simply put, there is just no substitute for regular, planned and uplifting assemblies where Christians can blend their voices in sacred song, hear prayers for one another and just intermingle with those who have the same hopes. But Satan has planted fear in the hearts of so many. I’m seeing countless people who are deathly afraid of going to a church assembly, but not afraid to go to Wal-Mart, funerals, or parties.  This, my dear people, is down where the rubber meets the road.  Don’t get me wrong, I try to practice safety methods. I try to not expose myself to the virus unnecessarily. But there are plenty of ways to keep a safe distance while in worship—MUCH more so than at the supermarket! (Listen, isn’t it time we rethink what we’re saying to ourselves and others about our faith?... when we go to work, play golf, eat out, meet with family and friends, but we excuse ourselves from Worship & Service in God’s Kingdom? Our auditorium holds four hundred; making it easy for social distancing. I’m reminded of the early Christians who would not deny or compromise worship or service to Jesus under any circumstance. God help us to be more like them.) RWC


  When looking down the road when we get back to “normal,” it is not the strong, hard-core Christian that I fear for; rather it is the peripheral church member who, after being absent for several months, will become satisfied with just staying at home. Having said that, when the restrictions are lifted, we’ll have serious work to do down in the trenches—work that we should have done more of all along. We must be making plans to reach out to such people and see that they are not permanently disconnected from us. This will call for a level of shepherding that most churches are not too good at.


  The bright side of this? This disruption may furnish us with a reason to hit the reset button and take a serious look at fresh ways of managing these local bodies of saints. For too long we have measured strength much the same as a business might: the number of heads that show up and the amount of money they leave.


  Unless I’ve completely misread the New Testament, the Sunday assembly was not used as an evangelistic tool, but more like a “pit stop” for each one to refuel so we can go out and be equipped to touch the hearts of people with the sweet message of hope.


  I challenge all of us to be thinking of appropriate ways to capture the attention of a nation that feels its very foundation shaking beneath them, and help them plant their feet on solid ground.



    Olive Branch MS

Submittedby Lee McCain