LOOKING AHEAD: GLOBAL MISSIONS IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD
- Post-pandemic power expansion and increase control
Washington Post published an article in March entitled “How politicians are using the coronavirus to seize control” . Tremendous power has been extended to political leaders to handle the pandemic crisis. Some countries are even jealous of how China has managed and the situation because of the tight lockdown and control. Many are afraid that this power, once given out, will be difficult to retrieve. Some feel that the control during the pandemic is only the “Appetizer” or what is to come in terms of control.
In Matthew 24, Jesus warned the disciples about end times: 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”
Notice that natural disasters, global crisis and persecutions were mentioned alongside each other.
If this is the case, indigenous mission and church movement become even more critical and important. It would be important to invest in local believers in equipping them to be ready to take up leadership and responsibility. Perhaps a crisis accelerates the need to let go of control but enhance empowering local believers.
- Post-Pandemic Protectionism and re-think Mission Strategy
With the pandemic situation and the increasing border restrictions, protectionism will become more common. Racial discrimination can become more “deadly” than the virus itself.Many more doors will be closed to mission workers.
In Acts 18, the Lord encouraged Paul with these words,
9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
God has many people in the city. Though the borders and doors are closed, the Lord has many of His people in the city. Ministry has gone beyond borders. Diaspora ministry, or Beyond Borders’ ministry becomes much more relevant and important. In any major metropolitan city, there are significant diaspora peoples that we have probably neglected in the past. The pandemic calls the local church to re-think how we can do mission locally and yet cross-culturally, in thinking the ministry “Beyond Borders” (BB).
- Post Pandemic wholistic ministry – whole church bringing the whole gospel to the whole world
(a) Strengthen counselling training
Some initial studies have shown that there is an increase in the number of children who have psychological disorders including anxiety and depression . Family violence and physical abuse have also increased. On-line training in counselling can also be explored in cross-cultural setting.
(b) Strengthen virtual gospel ministry
Recently, there is a significant increase in on-line gaming since the pandemic as people are advised to remain at home . Several organisations have begun to explore on-line evangelism through on-line gaming channels. May God give us creativity in reaching out in new ways.
(c) Strengthen participation from the younger generation
The new generation bears a strong sensitivity to environmental and justice issues. It would be good to invite them to think through how they can proclaim the gospel in word, deed, and character in the current context. Let us continue to encourage the younger generation to reach out by setting an example ourselves and invite the younger generation to find new solutions as we face the new-normal.
Above all, we must remember who our Lord is:
We are to continue to proclaim that Jesus is Lord in all circumstances. Jesus is Lord of His church. We are to be faithful in evangelism and the teaching of His Word.
Second, Jesus is Lord of all societies and cultures. He is concerned about justice. He cares for the marginalised and the victims of discrimination. We continue to reach out to the neglected. According to WHO, starvation could be one of the biggest global challenges in the coming two years.
Third, Jesus is Lord of His creation. Creation Care should not just be the agenda of politicians. In the post-pandemic environment, we must be even more conscious of and committed to Creation Care.
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood. The Lord sits enthroned as King forever. (Psalm 29:10)