Now More Than Ever, We Need the Church

Article by Melanie Hester October 8, 2020

Mom, COVID has changed everything and it makes me sad.

My 7-year-old son shared this with me through tears last week when, once again, his world was turned upside down because of this pandemic. He climbed onto my lap and we cried, grieving the loss of what we thought school would look like this fall.

In the past few months, he has been ripped away from school without warning, insecure about moving to a new house mid-shutdown, disappointed by cancelled birthday plans, and flexibly living out his summer break in a home with two full-time working parents, two full-time working grandparents, and a 2½-year-old sister.

Every human on earth can relate to his sadness in their own experiential way.

My son sees me as a full-time working mom, raising littles in a world I don’t understand and navigating new information from voices I’m not sure I trust. As best as he can understand developmentally, he sees my husband and me making the decisions we feel are best, guided by wisdom from the Lord, and the support of our family and close friends. He knows we look for the ways God is providing for us, both through joyous surprises but also gut-wrenching losses.

Ask believers around the world what the Lord’s provisions have looked like in the midst of this pandemic, and the responses would be all over the map. How would you answer that question? Maybe you’ve had to lean on a family member to watch the kids while you work through email. Many of us have had our own parents step up; grandparents have offered sweet relief with their dedication to virtual reading hours or taking kids on early evening walks when we just need a break.

All of us have had to sacrifice for the sake of our families: parents working separate shifts, single parents working around the clock, frontline workers quarantining from their families for months on end, grandparents settling for virtual calls for the sake of their health, and families sitting outside the window of a healthcare facility to connect with their loved ones. In all these sacrifices, we’ve seen a vibrant community link arms and bear the weight of this season together.

Local Church Community: have we told you how much we need you, too?

We need you to help with biblically resilient discipleship; we can’t do it all. In fact, I don’t believe God designed parents to do it all. Deuteronomy 6 suggests the entire nation of Israel was to pass on their legacy of faith; what God had done on their behalf; … great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh … (Deut. 6:22). The whole community—married, single, widowed, young, and old. While we do our part at home, God designed for it to be complete, with the church community and family working together.

Now more than ever, we need you. Please don’t interpret our silence as disengagement; we’re overwhelmed and tired, giving everything we have and knowing full well that it isn’t enough. The silence is a sign we need you to check in on us. We need to remember God has designed us for community, even if that community is connected through a screen [for now]. We need perspective, wisdom, and challenge. We need tools and resources to help connect our kids to Jesus, and we need those to flex around meals, disappointed high schoolers, toddler naps, and work. But most of all, we ourselves desperately need to be discipled so we can continue to disciple our children. We need Jesus, and we need to walk with Him and alongside others in the body of Christ.

Children’s Ministry Leader: We would be lost without you!

You are our heroes. We’ve watched the Bible lessons, participated in the resource bag drive-throughs, and attended virtual VBS. We’ve seen your face dance across our screen, and we know you prioritize the discipleship of our children no matter what this pandemic presents. You’ve gone to incredible lengths to provide us with tools at home; please don’t stop. While we may not utilize every resource available, the ones we do are worth their weight in gold. Keep it simple; help our kids know they have a place to belong, a leader who loves them, and God who changes them. This takes the form of providing a safe place for our kids to e-learn when we work, and an opportunity to engage with Scripture midweek. You fill the gaps when you host a church wide board game swap and creatively arrange for outdoor events to connect us as a body of believers. We know things are constantly in flux; they are in our homes, too. We stand with you, ready to do whatever it takes to pass on the legacy of faith we have to our children. It won’t look perfect; and to be frank, we prefer the imperfections. Let’s be present in today, allowing the Lord to fill in the gaps of what we can’t do.

Let’s do this together, shall we? Hand in hand, eyes cast to our children leading the church of 2050, resiliently standing in the midst of culture as a beacon of light for Christ.