THE PANDEMIC OF GOOD NEWS
THE PANDEMIC OF GOOD NEWS
By Trevor DeVage
This shutdown is only beginning, and already most of us are looking forward to life getting back to normal. But my prayer is that the church will never get back to normal. Here’s what I mean.
Too much of the church I’ve seen in my 41 years has been complacent, apathetic, lukewarm, and self-seeking. I don’t want to get back to that.
In some ways, the church is being scattered today, and that’s what should continue:
“WE GATHER TO SCATTER.”
Maybe God is using this moment to scatter the church so it can actually BE the church. Maybe this quarantine can make us more aware of the needs and hopes of those around us.
So I’m praying for a new pandemic, a gospel pandemic, a pandemic as contagious as any virus we’ve ever experienced.
In one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard, Craig Groeschel, pastor with the worldwide Life.church, reminds us that we’re all carriers of something. We can be carriers of fear. We can be carriers of negativity. And people will catch what we’re carrying!
But in the pandemic I’m praying for, Christians will be carriers of FAITH, not fear; GRACE, not grumbling; NEW LIFE, not negativity. What we carry will spread.
When this quarantine is lifted, the news will spread like wildfire. When we find a cure or a vaccine, everyone will be talking about it. That’s the nature of good news: you can’t keep it in! When we’re seized by the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, rose from the dead, we must share it. When we celebrate the hope that comes from realizing his death covers all our faults and failings, we can’t celebrate in silence.
When Paul wrote his letter to the Greek Christians in Thessalonica, he praised them for how they spread this good news: “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). Because of their example and testimony, he told them, “Your faith in God has become known everywhere” (v. 8).
What happened then can happen again.
We can be faith spreaders. But this won’t happen if we live in fear.
We can be love givers. At least one Muslim visited my Facebook Live prayer time last week. I know because of his boldness to comment on what he was hearing. If our love can touch a person like him, surely it can touch the people in my neighborhood.
We can be hope dealers. I have this mental picture of a believer wearing a backpack and meeting a desperate seeker in a dark place with an offer of what the seeker needs most: “Here, it’s free. I’ll give you a dime bag of hope.” Can you see yourself sharing this gift? A friend gave me a T-shirt that’s become one of my favorites. Across the front it says, “Hope Cannot Be Cancelled.” It’s true. It’s our opportunity.
The church I grew up knowing was filled with nice people doing nice things. But that’s not enough. Let’s not go back to that normal. The church today has an opportunity to reset. To spread good news as never before. To tell people what we’re for, not just what we’re against. To snatch people from the fires of hell (see Jude 23).
We can release a pandemic of good news that will be carried by everyone who catches it. The time is now to “go and make, not sit and take.” Let’s get started.