Excerpt below is taken from Dr. John Stumbo's video blog on March 13, 2020. Dr. Stumbo is the current President of the C&MA. We trust that his message brings a healthy perspective and sense of hope.
Let's be honest about fear. Fear is spreading faster than the virus itself. I don't want to shame those who feel fear, but let's look at it closely and let it lead us to the Lord. What are we really afraid of? The loss of a loved one? That's a legitimate cause for prayer. The loss of income? That's a real need to take to the Lord. The loss of our own life? May God free each of us from the tyranny of the fear of death. Are we afraid of another culture, another community, another people group? May we look that one in the eye and ask God to give us a different heart. You see, fear has value and fear has a place, but that value is always disrupted when the place is given too much priority. Let me say it this way: It is right that we have fear about some things in life, but when fear leads, it usually leads us to negative places.
And so my word of caution to us, Alliance family, is while we wanna be honest that legitimate fears within our own souls and congregations have a place, let's make sure that place isn't first, foremost, loudest, and strongest. But that other things accompany that conversation in our congregations and in our own hearts; things like wisdom, good judgment, faith, hope, and trusting in the sovereignty of God. Is God fearful at this moment? If we can get into His heart and understand His view that fear need not win the day or even lead the way.
I'd like to bring a word of hope. I know I want to downplay the significance of what is taking place across the globe. There are reasons for concern and when national and international health organizations start using words like 'pandemic,' it gets our attention. But friends, this is a moment for the church to be The Church. And so, I'm intrigued by what ministry possibilities arise for us as individuals and for us as congregations as we step into this opportunity. See, fear causes us to run away; hope, faith, confidence in God causes us to wisely step in.
What do I mean by that? If your church can't assemble as the larger church congregation, millions of churches around the world can't do so either. And so gathering as home churches might be a beautiful opportunity for the church to express itself in a different way at this moment in time. And for those of you who normally go to church and are now staying home and watching your service online, use that as an opportunity to invite an unchurched friend to do the same. For the unchurched, this might be the opportunity for them to experience what you experience every week although in a different setting.
Offering hope - the Gospel is brighter than ever in a moment of darkness...Rather than fortressing, would you use this as an opportunity of embracing? This could be, one more time throughout church history, when the Church rises to love, bless, engage, and care. Let's rise, Church!