By Joel Comiskey, free teaching videos on leading small groups
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He does not change. He has the same compassion for lost people as he did 2000 years ago. Referring to Jesus, Matthew said, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Mt 9: 18-20).
Jesus reaches people in times of persecution and religious liberty. He’s seeking the lost in times of wealth or poverty. And more specifically, in times of health and sickness. Jesus has a plan and a purpose to reach the lost during COVID-19. But what does outreach look like during the COVID-19 crisis?
I believe it is irresponsible to invite people to our homes and risk exposure. Love for our neighbors should compel us to follow the rules, wear masks, and not overcrowd churches. At the same time, small groups can stagnate without outreach. So how can groups and churches reach out?
One member of my small group started an outreach cell in Nicaragua among unchurched family and friends. A California-based pastor started cells in Colombia with the goal of raising up an onsite pastor.
I’m aware that in some countries where the internet infrastructure is poor or where members are not online, it’s far more difficult to hold online cell groups. In those situations, what about cell groups based on WhatsApp or group phone calls? Here are some suggestions:
- We can pray.
- We can be creative to invite unbelievers and unchurched to our online meetings and celebration gatherings. We can be creative in personal outreach and new strategies.
- We can reach church members who are not actively involved in small groups. Active small group leaders and members can contact those who are not involved and invite them to their groups.
- We can envision a better day and plan accordingly.
Small groups must always willing and ready to reach new people—even during Covid-19. For the month of March, let’s talk about how we can be creative and faithful in reaching out during Covid-19.