Church life as we once knew it has changed. Whether these changes are temporary or lasting after the coronavirus crisis fades, we do not yet know. What we do know is that God continues to be at work in and around us.
In recent months, many churches have added an online format for their worship services. Interestingly, this has appealed to some new people who are tuning in now though they were not previously regular church attenders. God continues to get His message out in many ways.
For several weeks, my Sunday School class has met by ZOOM. I was pleasantly surprised by how much this meant to me. During a time when contact with other people was limited and often included the necessary precaution of masks, our gatherings each Sunday to study God's Word together was life-giving and encouraging to me. The masks came off both literally and figuratively. We shared our prayer requests, struggles in our journey, and answered prayer. We were real with one another, and we found hope as we dug into Scripture together. As a relatively new church member, I was especially grateful to find a group of people... my church family... with whom I could do life in the middle of a pandemic.
My dad has taught a men's Sunday School class for most of my life. His church has taken a different approach. He has chosen to teach his class each Sunday at the park. They gather at a shelter house, observe some social distancing guidelines, and come together to study God's Word and grow in their faith.
Recently, he encountered an unexpected opportunity. A few weeks ago, he arrived early to greet people and to make sure the shelter house was still available. There was a boy sitting at one of the tables. Dad initiated conversation and mentioned that his Sunday School class would soon be arriving. "Sunday School?" the boy asked. "Do you mind if I stick around?" Dad of course eagerly welcomed him as did the rest of the class. On that day, a 12 year old boy spent an hour with men he did not know personally but who are actively growing in their faith. He participated in the discussion and even took a turn reading some of the verses.
This boy may have never made his way into a church building, and he certainly would not have been directed to join this particular men's Sunday School class on a regular day. But on this day, God used a group of guys in a shelter house at the park to show him a glimpse of God's love for him. And He used this boy to show a group of guys that God is still giving opportunity to share.
God is still at work! He is not limited by how things have always been done or how that has now been changed. What would happen if we asked God to open our eyes to the unexpected opportunities right in front of us... and then we responded?