With the experience of the past three months with COVID-19, the lockdown and in a foreseable future it in not likely that the way we do things in the Church, the house of God will remain the same.
We have been told, and it is being confirmed that the virus may not leave the world so soon as expected, and with the figures from the Nigerian government and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the spread of the pandemic in the country.
Therefore, that the Church must show some understanding and respond to the management of the virus is a reality to accept, rather than blaming the government for extending the lockdown against churches. If the Church is to remain under lock for some more time, the onus is on pastors to device new ways, and accept the methods by which they will encourage their members to serve their God.
During the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, many of our churches shifted to online service. It is still expected that the church must continue in this spirit rather than being bothered by the government’s refusal to open the church for congregational service.
We have read of fall backs from other lands what happened when they prematurely opened their Churches, and public places. If anything happens negatively at the end of the day it is the government that would earn the blame that is why a responsible government cannot be watching its citizens disobeying rules that could lead to fatal decimation of its people.
What our church leaders should do now is to respond to how they will get themselves organised for the reality of the New Church. The government of Lagos State has released a video clip on how to run the new church when it is given the nod for reopening.
The New Post Covid Church will be a safety conscious one. The days of embrace, hand shakes, Holy Ghost kissing and hugging are over. In the Post Covid Church it is you and your God. When you get to the church after undertaking the safety and health regimes, all you need to do is to sit gently and quietly on your seat, follow prayer instructions, donate your offerings in the newly designed method, and you take the exit door to your home.
Some people have even suggested way by which members who have their private vehicles seat in their vehicles to respond to prayers and the homily of mass devotions. Like I mentioned earlier the New Church is going to be much different from what we are used to. Churches must now prepare for both entrance and exit doors separately. The members enter through one direction and leave through another direction. So, that the fear of members facing one another would be averted.
Church leaders must also help themselves by keeping to the rule of minimal worshipers of up to 30 or 40 percent of the members for each service, to keep safe distance among themselves, it has even been suggested that members seats should be separated from one another. In the Post Covid-19 Church, deliverance laying of hands, join your hands in prayers can no more be practised.
These are the realities that our ministers of God should adjust to and keep to the rules. Why the government is hesitant in opening Churches and even the mosques is that our people, both church leaders and members cannot be trusted with these responsibilities.
This is the time for church leaders to show that they are not only responsible and reliable, that they can be trusted with people’s lives and safety. Some big and influential Churches have been holding seminars to enlighten their members about this. The rural ones should also do the same.
One fact that we cannot run away from is that many of our pastors are very disobedient, defiant and unruly. The government is quite aware of the clandestine ways some of them still meet and congregate, especially the rural ones. Not only the government but CAN leadership should put such pastors under control and educate them.
And now on the part of the government they should go all out to assure religious leaders that they are not being witch hunted. All the church needs is proper instruction which demands obedience and compliance from church leaders and members as many of our church leaders have indicated to show examples.
The Church should not refrain from praying for the government and all that are in leadership position, and make decisions especially on the administration and management of COVID-19 crises.
They need our fervent prayers. This is also a good time the Church should demonstrate the power of prayers, and the control of God over all manners of pestilence.
We have been told this is not the first time the world will experience such a global pandemic. But the power of God is strong enough to overcome it. We should also understand that this is a passing phase, as it has come, it will definitely go. It is my prayers that it will not sweep us away in Jesus name.
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