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Perspective: Is COVID-19 a Global Reset?

There are opportunities for the Church to shine in a virus-stricken, rapidly-changing world

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“I didn’t see this coming,” Daniel Chua, the Founder of Brave.is, admits with a shake of his head. “I thought the impact would just be like SARS, which Singapore dealt with successfully many years ago. I didn’t expect it to become a global pandemic.”

“I personally knew a couple of people who passed away from this virus. One was a man from Kuching, Malaysia, a pastor who was a friend of mine. I had spoken at his youth camps. It’s… surreal.”

In a Zoom call, Daniel shares his perspectives on the current pandemic, COVID-19, that is sweeping across the globe.

What do you think the Lord is doing in this season?

I tend to think on a macro level, and I believe we’re undergoing a global reset.

Think about this: Ever since the Industrial Revolution in the 1920s, the world has been on overdrive. We’ve been producing so much, consuming so much, that the world has never rested. Everyone is now stuck in their homes, so ecologically, it’s like a reset. There are pictures cropping up all over the Internet that Beijing’s skies are clear—free from the smog it’s usually caked with.

It’s like the world is put on Sabbath. But that’s a whole different conversation.

How is your church responding?

Our church started doing online services a couple of weeks ago, before it was required by law to put a pause on services. For the sake of the children, whom you can’t really tell to stay one meter apart, Pastor Andre (pastor of the The City Singapore, the church Daniel founded) made a decision to stream a recorded message.

“It’s almost as if the church is being stripped of all the peripherals and left with what’s essential. When you can’t have lights and sounds and a huge production, what are you left with?”

The church is also stepping up to meet real needs. We are looking at how we can care for people practically. We have people who are suffering emotionally and financially, as well as in other ways.

What do you think is the church’s role in this season?

Every time there’s a crisis, people are looking for answers. Let’s take the example of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. Records show that the highest church attendance in the US, and worldwide, was the Sunday after September 11.

So people are fearful and looking for answers. We may not have all the answers, but we can offer hope. We can offer perspective and encouragement for our community. This seems to be a time when we need to gain a kingdom perspective.

For example, why are people hoarding supplies – common things like instant noodles and toilet paper? They are driven by fear and an orphan mindset. There is even news of people stealing just to get their hands on bare necessities. Isn’t that the behavior of a spiritual orphan? It’s time for the church to remind them – in a nice way – that you have a Father.

“We’ve been producing so much, consuming so much, that the world has never rested.”

I would say to the church, “Don’t waste this crisis. Use all the tools at your disposal to stay connected with people.” Remember the verse in Hebrews 10:25 that instructs us, “Not giving up meeting together… but encourage one another.”

This is a time when many, even in the church, are fearful and growing anxious after several days stuck at home with nothing to do. Do a quick Zoom call with church friends, and continue to disciple your people.

I would also encourage the church to reach out to the government and find out how we can get involved in helping during this crisis. Pray for the mayor, your city council, your governor, or MP.  If you have a relationship with your government officials, take time to call them and ask, “How may I pray for you?” And pray for all the healthcare workers, the front-liners who are really battling this situation every day.

What do you think will be the impact of this global pandemic?

September 11th changed the face of airline travel in one day. We used to be able to bring our water bottles into the plane and say “hello” to the pilot, but because of one event, airline travel changed.

I believe this will also change things for the world; for one thing, GDP is dropping because people aren’t spending. They’re staying home, so nobody’s spending. Will there be another Great Depression? I don’t know, but a lot of companies are starting to go bankrupt. Financially, a crisis is looming.

But things will also change for the church, possibly for the better. It’s almost as if the church is being stripped of all the peripherals and left with what’s essential. When you can’t have lights and sounds and a huge production, what are you left with? We have the gospel, and we continue to do discipleship, even if we currently must use technology to get connected to people.

In the end, I believe that what the enemy meant for evil, God will use for good.

Daniel Chua, Founder of The Titus Group, with his wife Joy, Stanford University, April 2018.

Daniel Chua with his wife Joy, California, USA, 2018

 

Read about how this church in Las Vegas is responding to the crisis here