The Gates of Hell Won’t Prevail

By Joel Comiskey, Spring 2020

Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it”(Matthew 16:18). All the powers of hell won’t overcome Christ’s church. Not persecution, not warfare, not earthquakes, not famine, not materialism.

And not the Covid-19 virus.

Jesus has ordained his church to withstand and even flourish under crisis. He has prepared his body, the church, to be victorious in all situations, including life under the Covid-19 pandemic. Why? Because he is the risen Lord.

Throughout church history, the church triumphed in trials and difficulties. For the first three hundred years of the church’s existence, it endured horrible persecutions but came out stronger as a result. We read in Acts 8:1, “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.” God ordained a crisis to spread out the church to make more disciples.

In my book 2000 Years of Small Groups,I highlight the most powerful small group movements in church history, which thrived under repression and persecution, including the house church movement in China today.

But let’s get really practical here. How can the church thrive in times of pandemics, like the one we’re experiencing today? How can believers connect when they can’t see each other personally? What is the role of leadership during times of crisis?

For the month of April, we’ll explore not only the history, theology, and practice of the church in times of crisis, but also practical steps the church can take today to thrive and overcome. If you’d like to receive these blogs in your inbox, please click here. Pastors and leaders will write 20 blogs on the following topics:

  • April 05-11: Cell church in times of crisis. We’ll explore the biblical basis for cell church in the face of opposition and hard times. The house to house movement was born in opposition. Today, we have many examples of cell ministry where there is persecution, wars, gangs, earthquakes, and now the Covid-19 pandemic. Cell groups are nimble and responsive in hard times. 
  • April 12-18: Practical ways the church is responding to Covid-19. Many are meeting online in both cell and celebration. We’ll explore how some are using zoom, Facebook, and so forth. The use of cell phones, Whatsapp, email, and especially prayer is crucial.
  • April 19-25: Staying in touch with cell members. Prayer is the invisible power that God has given us to stay in touch. Paul talked about being absent in body but present in spirit (Colossians 2:5). We also need to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24).
  • April 29 to May 04:  Leadership in times of crisis. Effective leaders shine during tough times. They stay in touch with their people and inform them on what’s happening. We’ll talk about what leaders can do to minister to their people.

 Please feel free to share here.