The prayer focus for Day 5 of the 100 Days of Prayer for the world church and its mission says, “Pray for churches worldwide to develop plans to keep church members connected during times of isolation.” At the Hudson church in Hudson, Massachusetts, instead of life coming to a halt, one of the first opportunities to stay connected was through the kindergarten virtual Sabbath School as a result of the leader’s desire to stay in touch with the children and remind them that God loves them.
The week after that first virtual Sabbath School, volunteers filled boxes with paper crowns, hand puppets, Bible story craft supplies, and more—all items the children normally use in conjunction with the songs (played over the phone by their pianist) and fingerplays. They dropped off boxes outside the children’s homes. The second Sabbath was even better! Having familiar items to use during the phone call energized the children. They are quickly adapting to phone Sabbath School.
Prior to the temporary closing of the church, the church was working on an upcoming special Veteran’s Day project for patients at the neighboring nursing home and rehabilitation facility. Some women continued working on this project at home.
A few months ago, visiting pastor Edgar Herrera preached about the effectiveness of small group meetings held in peoples’ homes, and focusing on evangelistic outreach. Home meetings will resume later, but, in the interim, one group has tweaked the format, focusing on sharing encouragement from the Bible, prayer, and connecting virtually—with more people joining than they did in person. In this time of turmoil, people are wanting reassurance that things will be OK and the participation by phone offers that, along with anonymity. They created a list of Bible promises, texts of encouragement and God’s faithfulness, and are circulating that to attendees.
Some other “new normals” that have been turned into opportunities during this chaotic time are virtual prayer meeting using the church e-mail list to share a special devotional; the website for the new Sabbath School quarterly, and circulating the prayer request list; e-mailing and texting recommended YouTube sermons by pastors such as Pavel Goia and Ivor Myers; and inviting members to sign-up for the 100 Days of Prayer; and having the pastor call members to say hello, letting them know they are not forgotten and praying with them over the phone.
There are many opportunities and they’ve only scratched the surface. Two texts to hold on to during this time are John 16:33, NIV, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” and Joshua 1:9, NIV, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Until members meet in Hudson on the first Sabbath after the restrictions are lifted, they will continue to act on their opportunities.
—Cheryl McMaster, communication coordinator, Hudson church