Do you remember an old hymn that many congregations used to sing? Maybe your church still sings this one with regularity. It’s one of my favorites! It went like this…
Count your many blessings
Name them one by one
Count your many blessings
See what God has done…
One thing that most of us don’t do well is to stop from time to time and take inventory of how God has sustained us during difficult times. COVID-19 may be one of those seasons.
When you stop long enough to “count your many blessings,” how would you say that God has blessed you, your family, your Bible study group, and your church during this pandemic? Let’s celebrate 10 things that may be common to us all in these days (see below). And if you need a little encouragement today, stop and listen to Guy Penrod sing this great old hymn, then continue to my list of blessings we can count during COVID:
- If you’re reading this, you haven’t died. Some of you may have lost a friend or family member to COVID-19. I know 5 people who have died from it. But so far no one in my immediate family has died from it – including me! For that I’m grateful. I’m counting that blessing.
- After a time of sequestering, you came back to the church campus for live worship. Remember how much you desired to be back at church and in worship with your church family? For most of you, your church reopened live worship sometime in the last few months. That’s a big blessing, isn’t it?!
- Financial giving to the Lord through your church has remained strong, most likely. Although a minority of churches have seen a decrease in giving, most churches have weathered the COVID storm quite well. Many churches are ahead of budget because of reduced programming in the spring and summer months.
- You’ve learned how to use new technology. Remember the early days of COVID-19 back in March 2020? Your Bible study group couldn’t meet together, nor could you worship together. In fact, your church staff wondered how financial giving could continue. And along came Zoom which allowed for you to have worship and Bible study experiences. Then came online giving, which enabled you to give to the Lord even though you were not meeting at the church.
- You’ve reached many new people online. Everywhere I go, I hear people say, “My Bible study group is larger today than it was in March.” Online groups have grown by reaching new people. More people are experiencing your church’s worship service than ever before because of technology. My brother-in-law, a pastor in the Fort Worth, TX. area, doubled his Sunday morning and Wednesday night attendance by learning how to deliver sermons and studies online.
- Your church learned to pivot faster and to embrace change. Churches are not know for being nimble! But your church pivoted quickly and made changes much faster than ever before.
- People have continued to join your church and be baptized. The Lord’s Word has continued to be preached and taught, and men, women, boys, and girls have stirred the baptismal waters in churches all over the country. Evangelism has not slowed down, nor has people’s receptivity to the gospel.
- Your Bible study group has most likely regathered for in-person study and fellowship. What a blessing to be able to regather in person with your fellow believers! Many of you have done this already. Others are going to do it at the first of the new year.
- Your church’s ministry to people in the community has continued or expanded. Your church has found new ways to serve the people in your ministry sphere. COVID-19 has made us acutely aware of people with physical, financial, and emotional needs.
- You’ve had time to evaluate what matters most. We won’t be going back to “the old normal,” and your church’s leaders are determining what the “new normal” is going to look like for your congregation. Some programs you’ve loved over the years may not come back; new ones may take their places. At the end of the day, churches everywhere are rethinking ministry and making changes based on what matters most. Remember, “scarcity brings clarity,” and with fewer people to do the work of ministry, and perhaps with reduced finances, your church is more clearly defining what matters most than at any other time in its existence.
In light of these things (and more), remember to stop and celebrate! Count your many blessings and see what God has done – even during a pandemic.