When They Prayed
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES   I chose the theme of our 2023 Annual Conference session, “When They Prayed,” based on Acts 4:31: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they ...
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Carrying our sanctuary wherever we go

May 17, 2020

I must confess, I absolutely love a good quote! Quotes, scriptures, prayers, and profound nuggets of truth that I do not want to forget - or that I need more time to ponder - fill my journals. I often look through these journals and many times something jumps out at me in a new and relevant way. This week, for example, I stumbled upon this AW Tozer quote: “Worshipers never leave church … we carry our sanctuary with us wherever we go.” During this pandemic, this certainly confronts me in a new way. Have there ever been truer words? 

The coronavirus, the shelter-in-place order, and the desire to Do No Harm and be socially responsible in our communities may have closed the doors of our church buildings, but this new reality has in no way closed the church. 

You may have seen the t-shirt that says “Church Can Happen Anywhere.” We first printed them right after Hurricane Michael as our disaster response teams and volunteers were embodying that phrase. What better time to wear the shirt than now as our churches are once again living this out? (You can order yours here by May 31).  

Yes, church can absolutely happen anywhere! But as I think about the creativity and ministry of our local churches across South Georgia during this pandemic, I say church not only can happen anywhere, but that church IS happening everywhere!
  • Our churches’ online presence shares the gospel message in ways we cannot begin to imagine. Bishop Bryan’s Sunday morning worship services have been watched from 19 different states and another country. Pastors are sharing evangelism testimonies that are taking place through worship, prayer time, daily devotions and Bible study - all virtually. (I personally love “visiting” different churches and these offerings online throughout the week!)
  • Sewing ministries in local churches adapted quickly and have collectively made thousands of masks for frontline workers in their communities.
  • Severe weather and tornadoes in April have called upon our Early Response Teams, using social distancing and wearing masks, to provide relief work in multiple communities impacted by the storms.
  • Front porch visits are taking place in communities where the pastors check-in on members from the front porch of member’s homes while the pastor stays by their car. 
I could fill pages upon pages highlighting the creative ministries I see happening daily across South Georgia. The Great Commandment and The Great Commission have not changed, even though the ways we might “normally” fulfill them look different. My questions for us are this: What are we, as Christians and collectively as the body of Christ, learning during this time to carry with us into the future of discipleship and outreach ministries? How can we use what we are learning to shape our “new normal?” How can we continue to make sure that church IS happening everywhere?

As I continue to ponder the quote by AW Tozer, “Worshipers never leave church … we carry our sanctuary with us wherever we go,” my prayer is, “Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary and use me anywhere and everywhere I go.” 

Allison Lindsey is the incoming director of Connectional Ministries. She has a passion for the local church and its people. Contact her at allison@sgaumc.com. 

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