International (MNN) –As the world looks for a new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Denise Godwin of International Media Ministries says the Church has an opportunity to play a vital role moving forward, especially with the media tools available today.
“It’s critical [for] the Church to share [its] message but also to pull people in and have conversations. It’s important who we’re going to be in this next phase,” she explains.
Learning From History
Godwin says believers can look to historic early Christians for examples of how to bring hope to a hurt and stunned world. IMM’s Heritage Project, a series of docudramas about early leaders in the faith, covers one such person in Cyprian.
“The early Church faced this. They went through a time of persecution in the third century, under Cyprian. He led the Church to have a council, if you will, a forum to decide how to deal with the situations that they experienced during the persecution,” Godwin explains. “Later the Church would experience the plague, and they would rally to go out and take care of their persecutors.”
“They . . . had to be representatives of salt and light in the culture, [but] there were lots of Emperors passing through the leadership in Rome and in the African region where they were living. They had to constantly be adapting.”
Cyprian himself offers an important example and challenge to believers.
“Cyprian was a lawyer and a legal pundit before he became a believer, so he [used] those skills of communicating with dignity,” Godwin says. “When he was sentenced to die because of his faith, he was able to do so with such dignity and integrity that the whole community wanted to come out and honor him. I find that a marvelous challenge. How can my integrity and the way I serve Christ carry me forward in a way that draws people to the message of Christ?”
Godwin explains that IMM is creating excerpt pieces about the Church in the third century to help spread the Gospel and encourage believers during this time.
“[These stories] challenge us to have conversations with people, to ask people who they want to be in challenging times [and] how can we pray for [them],” she says.
“The Church is in a time of challenge. Christ said we would have times of tribulation, but he didn’t say the message should be diminished. He didn’t say who we are in Christ changed; we are still his workmanship. We are still representatives of Christ, even though our times are really challenging.”
Praying Through the Pandemic
Godwin says that in time like this when many people are searching for hope and truth, prayer is especially important.
“It is a very important time for media missions right now. People are looking online, and sometimes they’re just looking for entertainment, but they may be asking really hard questions about who is God in hard times,” she says. “Pray for those who are responding to the inquiries that they have wisdom and energy. Pray for those who are creating the media and doing the translations that we not grow weary in doing good.”
“It’s an important time to be sharing God’s hope through media.”
Header image courtesy of International Media Ministries