When Covid-19 hit the world, it seemed our plans had come to an end and we were in crisis. The dictionary defines crisis as the point of time when it is to be decided whether any affair or course must go on, or be modified or terminated; the decisive moment; the turning point.
After a moment of uncertainty, we saw opportunities for the gospel to go forward. Churches were forced to multiply small groups, technology was available, and people were desperate for messages of hope. What we only needed to do was inspire staff and partners to be creative, use every means of communication to reach more people with the gospel and multiply disciples, leaders, and groups. What happened after that is just amazing. Here are examples:
- Last year, Global Church Movements (GCM) organized global conferences for our church-planting leaders in Thessaloniki and Addis Ababa where we had about 400 leaders from about 120 countries attend. But last week, we conducted a similar conference using Zoom and had over 1,200 leaders from 116 countries attend.
- In Thailand, 30 out of the 35 churches that GCM staff have planted have grown more than ten times during the lockdown. One church that had 100 people now has 2,262 people attending online.
- Because of the lack of internet access, GCM staff in Ethiopia have converted the church-planting training process into daily text messages. They have been sending texts to 9,409 church planters daily, and the church planters have been sending to 63,105 people under their leadership which resulted in 200 churches planted in the last few weeks.
Gina Teodorescu, GCM staff, has been coaching Daniel and his wife Zina as they plant churches among the Gypsies in Romania. To help families facing need in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Gina mobilized resources to help Daniel and Zina distribute food for 100 families in the surrounding area. One of those families was Andre, Maria, and their two-year-old. During the lockdown, they had run out of food and were in need.
In the past, Daniel and Zina had attempted to invite Andre and Maria to evangelistic events. But the response was always negative. Andre didn’t want people to know about his struggles. He had forced his wife Maria to make money through prostitution.
About four weeks ago, the government relaxed the lockdown restrictions and the church members gathered in the open air. While preaching, Daniel saw Andre and Maria with their daughter in the audience. After the service, Andre approached Daniel, and with tears in his eyes shared his story of brokenness and asked if he could accept Jesus and get baptized. Since then, Andre and Maria have been baptized and dedicated their daughter for the Lord, and are pursuing a government process to make their marriage legal.
This is why we preach the gospel. It has the power to transform individual lives, families, and communities. We know Covid-19 has drastically changed how we live our lives. But God is using this global crisis to accelerate the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Indeed, the gospel is being preached in the whole world, doors are wide open for the gospel, God has the attention of the whole world, and amazing multiplication of house and family-centered churches are multiplying. Thank you so much for making this happen. We are also praying for you and your families.