Bestselling author and Bible teacher Francis Chan shared some perspective for leaders on the COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday by saying it's a good time to get right with God and be open to the option that God might be shifting the church away from the norm.
Chan was a voice among 50 other Christian leaders, musicians, speakers, and pastors that partook in evangelist Nick Hall's 10-hour lLivestream session called “Leader Check In” this week. During his portion, the former megachurch pastor, who recently left America to become a missionary in Asia, urged those watching to "repent" and self reflect because there's a possibility we won't go back to “church as usual, life as usual.”
“What if God is taking us to a different place?” Chan shared from the balcony of his new home in Hong Kong. “Many of us are anxious to get back to normal. I hope your anxiety is not just so you can go back and get busy with so many things.”
“What a powerful time to repent," he said as he reflected on the fact that no one knows what will happen during and following the global pandemic.
Chan talked about a friend who recently decided to leave his wife for another woman and how dull that decision was in a time of such uncertainty.
“This could be the beginning of the end,” he stressed. He said he believes this occurrence is ushering in a new period for the church as a whole.
“God is doing something now that I’ve never seen in my lifetime … It feels like we’re headed into a new season.”
The preacher hopes for this to be a time of “growth” for those watching. This is a time to remember that Scripture says “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
“Please get right with the Lord,” Chan implored, as he referenced James 4:10, which says, ”Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” “I’m begging you to think about humbling yourself.”
“This virus is showing us how unprepared we are,” he noted and then challenged people to be reliant on God alone. He said in a world where technology is also capable of failing us, God alone is omnipresent.
When speaking of the lockdown, Chan wondered, “Could [this] be a blessing in disguise for some of you?”
He admitted that the quarantine has helped him spend more time with God and his family as he is usually traveling every month.
“If you were truly isolated all by yourself, even without the Bible, would you be OK? We have the internet right now so we are not truly isolated, but if we were," Chan asked those watching if they would be able to lead themselves in their walk with the Lord, or even lead others to Christ. "Perhaps we are not prepared for such a situation."
He also told his pastor peers: “We no longer have the luxury of giving nice, lighthearted sermons that are softened with jokes on either side. My little self-help tips are not enough anymore,” he said.
Now is the time to rely solely on Scripture and the spirit of God, he emphasized.
Leader Check-In was a joint initiative of Pulse and Year of the Bible and happened in partnership with thousands of churches and organizations worldwide. Every speaker volunteered their time to give a word from God to a hurting world.