Earlier this year, I had done a broadcast on Facebook LIVE called “New Year, Same Mission”. Part of the broadcast focused on staying online for church due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I bring this up because that particular broadcast was about a month or so before the arrest of James Coates, a Canadian pastor who was arrested for hosting in-person services. What the media didn’t mention was that Pastor James was told by the authorities to stop preaching the Gospel. Pastor James refused and is still in custody. His wife, Erin has been asking a lot of ministries to pray for the family during this difficult time. The good news is that the church that Pastor James is shepherding is growing since his arrest. Despite this breakthrough, I firmly believe that it’s important that we continue to pray for GraceLife Church’s pastor and his family as they continue to stand firm during this trial.
Now, with that said, what is the response that GCAAM Network has when it comes to this whole situation? Well, I have a lot to say when it comes to all of this. But I will attempt to condense it as best as possible.
Last year, when the pandemic hit us, I agreed to make an exception to all of my subscribers to join church online. I normally don’t encourage it because I don’t consider online church services as an effective substitute for in-person church services. People with Asperger’s tend to isolate themselves from others. My hope and prayer is that we break that habit and engage with other believers. Before Pastor James’s arrest and the decision made by Grace Community Church to gather in person, I had shared that we were only going to shelter-in-place because it was a health issue. I had also said that if indeed this were an issue of persecution toward the church, that is “Don’t share the gospel with the world”. Then, I would consider that over the line. In the case of James Coates, GraceLife Church, John MacArthur, and Grace Community Church, I firmly believe that the governing authorities in both areas DID cross the line.
So, friends, after careful, prayer, perspective, and patience, it is NOW time to turn off your TVs and Computers. It’s time to get plugged into a church. It’s time to go back to church. Even if you have to register, mask or no mask, I strongly urge you all, let’s GO BACK TO CHURCH. I have recently gone back to my church and have seen how much I miss being with my family.
Now, to clarify, I recognize that some of you are still not comfortable going because of legitimate concerns. Maybe, you’re still worried about catching the virus. There have also been a number of you who have lost loved ones to the virus. That, I understand. Let me encourage you with this: I am NOT going to force you to go back to church. I am not in any position to do such an act. Rather I am challenging you and encouraging you to come back, but only if you feel safe to do so. Also, in all fairness, don’t come to church if you are not feeling well. If you have any symptoms and feel sick in any way, then I would recommend that you stay home. I don’t believe that spreading our germs is in the best interests of others within the church either. But overall, it is my prayer that those of us who are well and are not afraid of the virus decides to go back to church and get plugged in.
Go to chewmadenew.com/churches to find a church in your area. If you can’t find one, we also encourage you to check out The Gospel Coalition’s website as well as 9Marks. I have found 9Marks to be a very helpful resource when it comes to my ministry. I hope and pray that it does for you as well.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
To listen to the podcast version of this post, click here.
Peace Out & God Bless!