Updated: Aug 26
The past few years of COVID has bred apathy in many congregations and now we're facing the aftermath
Fear of man.
Love of money.
Tolerance for immorality.
These are the things I’ve seen and experienced time and time again for the past over two years across multiple nationalities, denominations, and age groups amongst those that profess to follow Christ in the Canadian church.
More than that, these are things I’ve had to confront in my own heart and have been convicted of by the Holy Spirit as well.
COVID has definitely impacted families all over the country in various ways; death, sickness, and government-enforced isolation have been emotionally devastating for so many, and my heart goes out to you if that’s your story.
But now that COVID seems to be somewhat behind us, many church leaders are looking despairingly at the past two-plus years as a major hit for church growth across the country.
But I’d like to suggest another perspective.
I’d like to suggest that maybe the dark season of COVID-19 wasn’t an obstacle to the growth of the church, but rather a refining process for God to purify His bride, and prune His vine. Maybe this season, like the stories of the prophets in the Old Testament show us, this was an opportunity for God to further set apart a remnant for His purposes and glory.
Unfortunately, during one of the hardest seasons almost every nation in the world felt, so many of us Christians got comfortable at home “attending church online”, instead of going out into the world and actually being the hands and feet of Jesus. Anxiety and depression skyrocketed, homelessness grew, marriages splintered and broke down, and pornography use rapidly increased and further enslaved an isolated and lonely generation. And what did so many churches do? Evangelism halted, empowering and calling the saints to a higher standard slacked, giving to the needy became an afterthought, and following the basic biblical command of “not forsaking the gathering of the saints”, became a radical idea for many churches.
At a time when so many hearts were so open to hearing good news, we chose fear instead of boldness.
May God forgive us.
Mixing with the world
What has shocked and grieved me even more, has been how so many believers have allowed their minds to be corrupted and conformed to the ideologies and patterns of this world instead of being transformed by the truth of scripture and the image of Christ. As someone who worked in the non-profit Christian space, I was anything but removed from what was happening with Canadian Christians, and it grieved me and quite frankly disgusted me.
I witnessed a prominent Christian leader discuss how he doesn’t refer to God in “he” pronouns. I saw vaccinations become mandatory in workplaces that claim to love Jesus. I watched Christians who spoke out for the dignity of life of black brothers and sisters, cave to the fear of man and stay absolutely silent when it came to the ongoing mass murder of babies in the USA when Roe v Wade was in the process of being overturned. I was shocked when I listened to a Christian leader refer to the sanctity of marriage existing only between one man and one woman as a “theological opinion”. And I was exasperated when I saw countless Christians say that they “attend church” by sitting on their couch and watching Youtube by themselves Sunday after Sunday with no other intentional weekly gathering with other believers.
Please, my brothers and sisters, search your hearts and scripture and ask yourself, is THIS the kind of church Christ died for? Is this the church that millions of Christians around the world risk their life for in countries where being a Christian and reading the bible is not just illegal, but a death sentence?
Is it so that we can manipulate and ignore simple truths in scripture to appease our double-minded conscience, social media friends, co-workers, family members or boss? Is it so that we can keep our jobs and advance our careers because saying the truth means being “cancelled”?
Renewing our minds in Christ
Brother and sister, can I remind you of the words of Jesus Christ? Our Lord and saviour said:
- Mark 8:34-38 “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
-Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
-Matthew 10:34-37 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
-1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
-Isaiah 5:20-21 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”
-Luke 6:22-23 “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.”
-Luke 6:24-26 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.”
-John 14:23-24 “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
The cost of following Jesus
Jesus was very very clear that to follow Him meant to turn your back on the ways of the world and the desires of your flesh and to pledge ultimate allegiance to Him. To follow Yeshua is to bow your knee to him and see your life and everything in it as worthless in comparison to knowing and loving Him.
And I wonder, is that the heart posture of the Canadian church? Do we see the gospel as a treasure we’ve found that we sell everything to obtain it and tell others about? Do we trust that only in Jesus, which is the Word of God made flesh, there is ultimate truth that we can place our life on? Or are we clever in our own eyes and trust the ideologies of men and women who are blinded by and slaves to the devil?
Dear brothers and sisters in the Canadian church, it's time for us to be bold and to turn back to God with our whole hearts. If you have waned in your passion and zeal for God, RISE UP, arm yourself with the armour of God, and lean into the battle being waged in front of us! If you have backslid and are living in sin, REPENT and come back to God who is slow to anger and boundless in faithful love and mercy. If you are in the middle of spiritual warfare and feeling discouraged, remember that those who WAIT on the Lord will renew their strength and not be put to shame!
Romans 8:18-25 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay an
d brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
P.S. If this blog post encouraged and or convicted you, please share it with another sister or brother in Christ!