By Bob Cowman

I tend to see opportunity at the strangest times and in the weirdest ways. If you read the news or follow the commentators, you might think that nothing good will ever happen again. It is hard for me to swallow this gloom and doom pill—especially when people just sit around and talk about how bad things are and do nothing to make them better.

Here are five ways Columbus Road Baptist Church has capitalized on the opportunities that have come out of COVID-19. The key is to engage with others.

  1. People are connecting in small group settings. Our church leadership had recently decided we needed a robust small group ministry that would include all of our members. Our goal was to have 75 percent participation by the end of 2022. With COVID-19, we are implementing a full-on small group initiative now. We see this as a season for connecting our church like never before. And our people are seeing the benefits of coming together to share in fellowship and encouragement.
  2. Our community is caring for real needs. We are experiencing many needs in and out of our fellowship. Spiritual sickness is real. Many people have developed poor habits and aren’t being fed spiritually or having their families fed spiritually. So we are taking every advantage to meet people where they are and create ways for them to nourish their souls. Many will slip through the cracks if they’re not careful. We must be attentive not only to who is showing up but to those who are not.
  3. Lay leaders are leading. I believe this could be one of the greatest benefits of COVID-19. People need to be reassured that they are cared for, and we are seeing more deacon care and connection now than at any time in the recent past. Decisions are being made clearly and decisively. Urgency has prioritized ministry, and decisions that were once challenging are no longer. Watching our deacons caring for their groups has been encouraging.
  4. We are changing what needed to be changed. It has been interesting to see how people navigate change. Some are paralyzed by it, while others thrive on it. I have learned through COVID-19 that we were headed in the right direction—just at the wrong pace. Most change could happen quickly, but the mental and emotional states of those experiencing the change slows it down. Our church people, however, have embraced the changes and are daily creating ministry initiatives.
  5. Our ministry initiatives focus on reaching out. For example, a new prayer network has women signed up to pray on an hourly basis. And we are sharing sermons and devotionals through watch parties, going on prayer walks, and creating care packages—to name a few.

This can be a perfect time for your church to grow. Don’t let these opportunities pass you by.

Bob Cowman is pastor of Columbus Road Baptist Church, Quincy, Ill. This article first appeared on his blog and is reposted by permission.