COVID-19 Silver Linings
As we head into a new year, let us give thanks to God for the many “silver linings” that have come to us from the last year and a half. Here are 12 reasons to celebrate God’s work through COVID-19
- We have expanded our communication of the Gospel. In 2020-2021, Community Church has invested over $17,000 to improve to our digital, media communication. As a result of these investments, we’ve dramatically expanded our ability to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ. In my pastoral experience, I have seen the positive impact of Covid-19 upon the way we are communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ, fulfilling Christ’s vision for us (Know Christ, Grow in Christ together, Go with Christ), and the Great Commission. Better than ever before, we are now better equipped to reach out into our community and world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We are more effective than ever before in the 91 year history of Community Church to make an eternal difference in people’s lives.
- Hybrid ministry has allowed us to reach new people. Along with so many churches worldwide, because of COVID-19, we have become “hybrid,” in our ministry, offering in-person ministry at the same time as online ministry. We launched a new YouTube Cannon Beach Community Church channel (HERE). This past week our YouTube channel hit 20,000 total views since we launched it in March 2020, representing tens of thousands of people who have connected with us online this past 18 months. We began offering live streaming church services in September 2020. Thus, we as a church are reaching a whole new audience. People who do not feel comfortable attending a worship service “in-house” feel comfortable worshipping at home in their pajamas. In these past 18 months, people have been increasingly hungry for hope, and many are opening themselves up to “online church” messages in a brand-new way. Through our online presence, we are reaching more people with the Gospel than ever was previously possible.
- We’ve improved and upgraded our Church Website. In 2020, we invested $5000 to upgrade and greatly improve our Church website, beachcommunity.org. Our new website is one of the main places new people go to get information about us as a congregation. I regularly have new people tell me, “we found you online, read about you and loved coming here for worship.” Our Webmaster, Athena Dickau, our Church Administrator, keeps our website updated weekly.
- We’ve added weekly eNews, our Beach Life Together digital newsletter. COVID-19 sparked renovations in our way of communicating among our congregation, including the addition in May 2021 of our new eNews, Beach Life Together. This digital newsletter goes out to all our members and friends weekly on Friday, connecting people to our ministry, keeping people up to date on what we are about, opportunities for service, information about our ministry, financial health, ministry possibilities.
- Video Conferencing has brought us closer together. Though not as good as face to face connections, during a time of physical distancing due to COVID-19, video technology through such platforms as Zoom have brought us closer together, allowed us to increase our connections though physically distant. Some of our Grow Groups meet via Zoom, some offer video connections for people to join the group remotely. Our Leadership Team and Deacon Team have experienced highest attendance at monthly meetings in part due to video conferencing options now regularly available. We’ve also connected more these past months with friends and families who live far away through video conferencing.
- We’ve expanded ministry to people who are unable to attend worship physically. Recently one of our widows shared with me how peaceful and reassuring it is for her on Sunday mornings to sit at home and worship with her congregation in real time. COVID-19 sparked new ways we are reaching home-bound people, bringing hope and encouragement to isolated people in our community and in our world. We enjoy the company of over 1,000 out of town guests who regularly attend our services while on vacation or while staying at their 2nd home. They feel more connected due to our technology improvements. I also know of friends and family members in other states and other countries who regularly worship with us.
- More time with people we love at home. We’ve had more time at home to enjoy life with those we love. Trina and I have loved being home together more during these past 18 months, spending more quality time together, eating more meals at home together. We’ve taken time to slow down, enjoy home cooked food and enjoy a more relaxed pace of life.
- More emphasis upon self-care. Our 30 Ways of Self-Care list (HERE), that I’ve been blogging on weekly this year, is a direct result of this pandemic, developed by our COVID-19 Taskforce in November 2020. We’ve seen improved self-care in our staff, among our congregation, including physical, mental/emotional and spiritual self-care. Check out my pastors blog for 16 current blog entries from the 30 ways to practice self-care (HERE).
- We’ve expanded flexibility and increased options for working and studying remotely. Options for remote work and remote learning have increased the well-being of staff and people in this congregation. We’ve had greater ability to connect to meetings via zoom, and more options to work online from home when needed. School kids have developed more virtual learning strategies, which, though not optimal, have increased the opportunities for learning for all our children.
- Health Improvements due to COVID-19: One of the great health improvements from COVID-19 is the rapid development of telemedicine. Doctors are able more now to reach into lives of at home people via video telemedicine, including mental health professionals. Another silver lining from COVID-19 is that this global pandemic has revealed the great resilience of the human spirit, our adaptability, perseverance and forbearance in stressful times. Dr. Samuel Tourek, Ph.D., clinical psychologist expresses it this way: “I would say that this crisis is really highlighting the resiliency of the human spirit. I’m witnessing so many different and unique versions of suffering in my conversations with people, and invariably, there is meaning and purpose in moving forward.”
- We’ve become better neighbors. Due to COVID-19, staying at home more, and spending more time outdoors, people are meeting their neighbors more, sometimes for the first time. Walking our dog has brought us into contact with more of our neighbors. COVID -19 has helped us become more aware of our neighbors, especially those who have greater needs or are more vulnerable.
- Gratitude. This global pandemic has raised awareness of many simple gifts God gives us daily, and increased our gratitude for these gifts. These gifts include the daily gift of health, food, sleep, home. We also are grateful of having time to slow down and focus on the more important tasks at hand, such as connecting with people we love, learning a new hobby, or cleaning a room or closet in our home or remodeling our house. For what do you give thanks? What gifts have come your way as a result of this global pandemic?