On Sunday, March 22, Louisiana’s Governor John Bel Edwards gave the grim news that Louisiana has the fastest rate of confirmed cases for the COVID-19 virus than any state or nation in the world.
Along with that foreboding news, Governor Edwards implemented a “stay at home order” until at least April 13. The Governor’s Sunday proclamation makes it official that we are in this for the long haul. And, “this” seems to be changing on us daily.
So, the thought occurred to me that much of the Apostle Paul’s ministry was remote. Because of his imprisonment, much of his ministry became remote instead of in person. Paul could have said that there’s nothing that he could do, but instead, he stayed connected to the churches through a ministry of writing.
Think about the book of Philippians for example. The contents might help us to understand how we do ministry in these “remote” days.
- Paul engaged in a ministry of prayer. (1:3-11) If our prayer life doesn’t grow in these days of our “confinement,” we must confess that we are really not all that interested in praying.
- Paul expected a new wave of evangelism. (1:12-20) Paul, in his confinement looked for evangelistic opportunity, and to his no great surprise, it was right in front of him. I believe the same is true for us if we will open our eyes. May we, as Paul did, understand that opportunities for Gospel advance now exist that did not before the COVID-19 crisis.
- Paul elevated that which was most assured in his life. (1:21-30) Every day we live with this truth that to live is Christ and to die is gain. Every day we live with this truth that whether we live or die, as Christians, we truly win. This crisis causes us to face this truth in a brand new way. We are going to be tested as to whether we believe the message we have been preaching.
- Paul exhorted true Christian doctrine. Paul spoke of humility, the importance of our Christian witness (shine like stars), and the power of the Gospel over everything else.
- Paul experienced joy and contentment. (4:1-18)
- Paul expressed hope for the future. (4:19-20)
“And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
So, while we engage in this remote ministry, know that God is up to something! Just imagine where we would be without Paul’s remote ministry. For starters, we would be missing a lot of the New Testament.