USA (MNN) — The pandemic’s lockdowns and forced isolation are taking a heavy toll on our mental and emotional health. More about that here. This need presents opportunities for believers to introduce people to Christ’s hope and love. Yet, some of the U.S. Church’s “traditional” ways of reaching out – fellowship meals, home visits, et cetera – are not possible right now.
How do believers deliver hope in the age of social distancing? Ron Hutchcraft of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries says it begins with a biblical perspective.
“We’ve tended to be in ‘survival mode’ the last few months; trying to figure out how we’re going to get through it, and ‘we’re going to do without that, and without this’ and so on,” he says.
“Survival mode is, by its very nature, selfish. It’s all about me. We can’t allow ourselves to fall into that trap.”
Instead of concentrating on what we cannot do during the pandemic age, believers could find new ways to help others. “We’ve got to build bridges into people’s lives and hearts; finding ways to show the love and the compassion and the kindness of Christ to them,” Hutchcraft says.
“We’re supposed to be delivering hope wherever we go.”
Four components of an others-focused mind
When everyday “normal” is constantly changing and uncertainty surrounds the future, Christians can deliver much-needed hope and peace. “I love what Jesus said; He said, ‘you are the light of the world’,” Hutchcraft says, quoting Matthew 5.
Pandemic regulations may change how believers share Christ with a dying world, but the Lord’s instructions to “let your light shine before men” remain unaltered. Obeying Christ’s command in a socially-distanced world simply requires a new outlook.
“I’ve got four keywords here that should describe our mindset,” Hutchcraft begins. “Number one is ‘intentional’.”
Change requires focused energy, and recognizing Gospel opportunities isn’t as easy when most people stay at home.
“Be intentional about looking for opportunities to show the love of Christ, to take an interest in people who may not believe what we believe,” Hutchcraft suggests.
Secondly, “be paying attention to the people around you and looking for where their needs might be,” Hutchcraft says. Social media posts are a good source to watch, he continues, or “even getting ideas off the news.
“Frontline staff at our local hospital were at the end of their rope from taking care of COVID patients and watching them die alone. We saw [this information] in the paper and boom, that gave us the idea to [give them] all a copy of the book Hope When Your Heart Is Breaking.”
Each believer has varying levels of community involvement. Some may be actively involved in their local church, while others connect closely with fellow parents in a children’s sports league. “Every one of these is a potential hope mission field for you,” Hutchcraft says.
“[Think] creatively – what could I bake? What could I deliver? What could I pay for?”
Finally, a mind fixed on Christ is willing to obey. The Holy Spirit may prompt, but it’s up to us to act.
“I’ve been asking the Lord to help me get better at listening to those promptings those nudges from Him to text a certain person, call a certain person, … [or] send a note of encouragement for no reason other than to lift them up,” Hutchcraft says.
Header image courtesy of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries.