By Dr. James Emery White, Crosswalk.com
The internet is abuzz with what to do while the world is locked down due to the Coronavirus, such as learning online, homeschooling kids, exercising in the living room, knocking out home projects and getting that Zoom account. But I haven’t seen a list of things that you could do that would nurture your spirit and support the cause of Christ.
Here are eight to think about:
1. Read a soul-encouraging book.
My suggestion would be The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. Not only is it arguably the most inspiring Christian biography in recent history, but it will lift your spirits and put our current trials in much-needed perspective.
2. Stay engaged with your community of faith.
We all know that a church isn’t merely bricks and mortar—just served by bricks and mortar. And strategically so. But you can and should stay engaged with your community of faith through online services, online learning opportunities, the church’s social media presence and reaching out to others in your community of faith. And by all means, stay faithful to your church in terms of supporting it financially and praying for its ministries and leaders.
3. Serve those in need.
At Mecklenburg Community Church (Meck), we have organized “serve days” with various local mission partners that have been vetted and cleared for participation in light of our city’s “stay at home” orders. Your church probably has as well. Beyond this, think about someone you know who is over the age of, say, 65, who might appreciate you grocery shopping for them or picking up a prescription at the pharmacy. The same would serve women who are pregnant or anyone with pre-existing conditions.
4. Get outside and engage a neighbor.
This is a unique time when many cities allow outside recreation, even walking around the block, while sheltering at home. In my neighborhood, I’ve never seen so many people out walking or riding bikes—people I have never seen before and had no idea lived near me. I also see many of those same people talking with others while outside—yes, six feet away, but engaging. What a wonderful time to purposefully try to meet new people, begin a relationship and, as the Holy Spirit opens the door, be able to suggest your church’s online services or children’s ministry resources. All to say, this is high season for relational evangelism.
5. Watch a seasonal movie.
Yes, suggesting you watch a movie during a lockdown goes without saying, but have you thought of a seasonal movie? Holy Week begins this Sunday with Palm Sunday. So for now, maybe bypass current top streams “Contagion” and “Tiger King.” And while I personally have had “The Mandalorian,” “The Good Place,” “The Crown,” “Unbelievable,” “Schitt’s Creek,” “My Brilliant Friend,” “Succession,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and others on my list in recent months, think about adding a movie like 1977’s Jesus of Nazareth (still one of my favorites and one of the most engaging and moving depictions of the life of Jesus) or 2004’s The Passion of the Christ.
6. Cook and eat a meal as a family.
It really is a two-part process. First the slow, interactive pleasure of cooking together. I did this for years during our “Family Day” breakfasts with my kids and now with my grandchildren. But now, it has taken on new meaning with my wife. On the second day of our “stay at home” stint, Susan and I decided to make a breakfast like we hadn’t made in years. Biscuits, bacon, eggs…. But then comes the eating! And, hopefully, the conversation that goes with it. It’s easy for any family to get away from eating meals together; get back in the habit.
7. Use social media for the mission.
We’re all on social media, and obviously now as never before. But if you’re a Christ follower, be strategic. Avoid filling your head and heart with the superficial, much less the trashy. Use liking, reposting and retweeting to promote positive messages from your church, and particularly those related to promoting online services. When I send out a tweet and a Mecker likes it, it boosts that message in various feeds; when they retweet it, it spreads the message to a wider audience. I need Meckers to do that for the sake of our mission, and your church needs you to do the same. This is arguably the easiest time in modern history to be an evangelist. Don’t miss the moment.
8. Reestablish a daily quiet time.
Whether you call it a devotional, your time with God, or as I have tended over the years, my daily “quiet time,” take time every day to read the Bible, reflect on what you read and pray. It’s so easy to get out of the habit of doing this. Now is the no-excuse time to get it back into yours. If you now have time like you never had before—steward it. Give your first and best to God.
James Emery White
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His newest book, Christianity for People Who Aren’t Christians: Uncommon Answers to Common Questions, is now available on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.