CLEVELAND, Ga. — A professor at Truett McConnell University in Georgia is encouraging Christians to utilize the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to minister to their community, both physically and spiritually.
“I’m convinced that this coronavirus outbreak is possibly the greatest outreach opportunity for the Church worldwide,” writes Dr. Andrew McFabich, a professor of microbiology at the university. “The coronavirus has covered the globe and, thus, brought missions to our own turf. The Church needs to respond to the current situation sensibly and centered around the gospel.”
The article, shared by Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis, seeks to provide ideas for the Church to actually be the Church instead of simply laughing at the perceived panic in the nation.
“The Church is called to be salt and light to this world (Matthew 5:13–14). We can be salt by promoting personal hygiene during this time of crisis. And we can be light to those in spiritual darkness, exposing their sin problem and sharing Christ,” Ham said.
One of the ideas that Fabich suggests is for churches to purchase hygiene items and make them available to the community.
“We need to quit making memes about the shortages of toilet paper and hand sanitizer worldwide and begin to realize that people perceive these items as a need,” he said. “Churches should stock up on these supplies for distribution to their local communities.”
Fabich also suggested that churches form medical missions teams, similar to those that work overseas, but that can be put to use locally and on a regular basis — as there is always some sort of infectious disease needing to be addressed.
“The beauty of such a team is that infectious disease outbreaks happen regularly. Having something in place will mobilize the church moving forward,” he said.
Thirdly, and most importantly, share the gospel with the people as you show them you care about their physical well-being.
“Have someone creative and biblical write a tract for distribution to each person receiving the personal hygiene products. What a travesty to meet people’s physical needs and neglect to tell them about their most important spiritual need: a relationship with the Creator Redeemer Jesus Christ,” Fabich wrote.
“What we should learn from this COVID-19 outbreak is that life is short and we’re not guaranteed tomorrow (James 4:13-17),” he also outlined in a separate article where he provided common sense instruction on preventing infection — of any kind. “While we all live forever, some will spend eternity in Heaven and others in a real place called Hell. The difference between Heaven and Hell is a relationship with the Creator of the universe: Jesus Christ.”
“I feel like we’ve left behind an important song in our hymnal that applies to our current situation: Rescue the perishing/Care for the dying/Jesus is merciful/Jesus will save,” he said.
As previously reported, Christians in China have been conducting outreach on the streets — even in Wuhan, the center of the virus outbreak, distributing protective masks and gospel tracts to passersby. One video shows local Christians at work, handing out items from the trunk of a car.
“[This mask is] for you. It represents the love of God,” one man is heard saying in the footage. “May God bless everyone in the community. … Take the mask and the gospel leaflet.”
In the background, a recorded sermon can be heard playing over a loudspeaker as the men go about offering kindness and truth to others.
“Because men have sinned against God, we all live under God’s angry judgment,” the preacher outlines. “There is no justice, no goodness, no life and no peace. God allows suffering to all who do not want to seek the truth, so that they may know that only Jesus Christ is the way, truth and eternal life.”
“Who wants to abandon his son to save others?” he asks. “But God forsakes His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to save us sinners from eternal destruction. God did not want us to suffer in the sulfur lake for eternity, so he sent His Son into the world. The Bible says that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. … He died for our sins so that all who come to Him can be forgiven.”
A missionary with HeartCry Missionary Society, simply identified as P.Z., outlined that because of their love and kindness, Christians in China were gaining “the respect that they never had because of their willingness to risk their health to serve.”