With the entrance of the coronavirus, and the accompanying chaos the quickly ensued, churches and believers all over the world were struck with the difficulty of ministering amidst this pandemic.
In our own church, we have transitioned from limited services to sermons posted on YouTube, all within a few short days. Our congregation, which loves gathering together, has been separated as a whole for several weeks, and it looks like it might be a few more.
The command to minister, however, is not put into social distancing from the believer. Though ministering may look different in this pandemic, believers must still minister.
The question remains, “How?” What I would like to do is provide a few suggestions. I am so proud of our church because even amid this pandemic you all have been busy ministering to those within and without the congregation. Let’s keep it up, and do what we can to minister to those who need the Gospel.
- Prepare to minister to one another and the community through physical resources.
One primary way that we can minister to those within our church and outside our church is through physical resources. According to The Post and Courier, South Carolina has experienced a 400% claim in unemployment requests.
With this considered, there will be many who are in desperate need of physical resources. This can include financial resources to help with bills (such as electricity, water, etc.). It can also include the need for food. Our foodbanks have already experienced an increase in usage, and there is every reason to believe that this need will continue to grow. We can help minister by setting aside a few extra purchases each week. Let us seek to meet those physical needs while not neglecting the spiritual needs.
- Prepare to minister to one another and the community through emotional resources.
There has been death and disruption of life. The economic ramifications will be felt for years to come. This, understandably, will affect people emotionally. Through the loss of loved ones and friends to the upending of life as normal, individuals will need emotional support. How can we minister to those?
We can offer a listening ear. Like Job’s friend initially, sometimes we need to simply be with people (see Job 2:11-13). Other times we need to share our own struggles with others. One of the reasons believers experience suffering, as the Scriptures teach us, is to help comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). As people are more open during these times, we can also utilize these times to present the Gospel which provides the answer to the problems of which they may not even be aware. These are tangible ways, though, in which believers can minister.
- Prepare to minister to one another and the community through spiritual resources.
The most important need people have is God. Believers need to be reminded of their constant need of God, but people who have not followed Jesus Christ also need God, though they may not be aware of it. Believers can provide wonderful spiritual resources through books, sermons, and edifying relationships. Consider purchasing extra books to give them away. One way you can help yield fruit from this endeavor is to encourage them to work through a book with you. You can schedule a weekly time to talk about what you read in the book. In this way, you are ministering to their spiritual needs. For example, during times like these, people often wonder why God allows something like this to happen. Working through the book, Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts, would help them understand how God works. Be ready to discuss the Gospel. Learn how to apply the truths found there to the various issues people are facing.
No doubt there are other ways in which we can minister. Please let us know because we want to ensure that everyone has their needs met, be they physical, emotional, or spiritual. We do this to glorify God and love our neighbors as ourselves.
 Andrew Brown, “SC Unemployment Claims Skyrocket by 400 Percent with Job Losses Caused By Coronavirus,” The Post and Courier, 19 March 2020, https://www.postandcourier.com/health/covid19/sc-unemployment-claims-skyrocket-by-400-percent-with-job-losses-caused-by-coronavirus/article_b166e166-69fe-11ea-9890-fb73cf7c7c3a.html, accessed 17 April 2020.
 Nina Lakhani, “’ A Perfect Storm’: the US Facing Hunger Crisis As Demand for Food Banks Soars,” The Guardian, 2 April 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/02/us-food-banks-coronavirus-demand-unemployment, accessed 17 April 2020.
 Consider this opinion post in The New York Times Online: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/21/opinion/letters/us-coronavirus-reaction.html, accessed 17 April 2020.