In both good times and bad, God calls the church of Christ to be a servant community, serving the purposes of God in our communities.  It is entirely right to care for those in need within our church families, but as we are able, the call of Christ extends beyond the edges of church.  As we are able, this is a time to let our hands and feet speak the love of Christ. As we are able, this is a time for churches to act with generosity.

Churches able to respond to this call might like to consider the following points as they make plans:-

  • The impact of the church might be greater if church members act in a co-ordinated way.
  • If something is already happening in your community – initiated by another church, the council, people of good will or another organisation – seriously consider joining in with what’s already happening rather than starting something new.
  • If a new initiative is needed invite others to join you rather than acting alone – the impact is likely to be greater and bonds built in working together may last for a very long time.
  • Whatever is envisaged it is imperative that those involved abide by the guidelines suggested by the Baptist Union. This is not a time for irresponsible heroics!
  • Motive is important. We serve because the love of Christ compels us to respond to people in need, not to enhance the reputation of our church.  But in doing so we may well enhance the reputation of our churches and of the church’s Lord.  We might also find ourselves with opportunity to ‘give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have’ (1 Peter 3:15), for these are anxious times.  If this is the case, let’s be unembarrassed in sharing that hope.

Some suggestions to consider:-

  • Work with your local foodbank. Ask, for example, how food parcels are getting to those who would normally collect them but who are now self-isolating. You might decide to make up boxes of essential items (soap, tissues, toilet paper, sanitary products, basic food items etc.) to deliver to those in need in your community. If this would be a new departure for your church, then take advice from the experts – talk to foodbank.  Special consideration should be given to those who are over 70 years of age who are following advice to voluntarily self-isolate. 
  • Encourage able members of the church to set up a Whatsapp group for their street to help people keep in touch.
  • Encourage people to be generous in their giving. Decide on a local charity – e.g. a charity working with street homeless people – and give sacrificially.