IN March, during the first livestream worship service after the start of Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia, I mentioned that 2020 may be the worst year, but with God it can become the best year. Now after only 2 months, we have learned many new and best lessons! These lessons can be expressed in 3 “Trans”:
During the pandemic, everyone has been transferring messages, forwarding or receiving many more messages than before. Sometimes, we don’t know if the information is accurate, but still we forward them. Is this because we have grown up in an environment of “spoon-feeding”, so that we cannot tell right from wrong? Even when we go to church, we also sit in the sanctuary receiving a “spoon-fed” service. Now during the pandemic, we have switched to online livestreams. It is the same as usual, except that once the service is over, we are already at home. This is transferring an in-person worship service to a virtual worship service. But some livestream worship services have also added “translating”.
Translating means that some churches have live interaction, questions and answers, and discussions before and after livestream services. It is like in early May, during the three consecutive nights of the Sibu North District revival rallies, we used Zoom, and were able to connect with the 300-400 people after the rally for Q & A, sharing, interaction etc. in response to the message. This is a little bit of “translating”.
The Lord Jesus and the early church had ministries of both transferring and translating messages to the people. For example, Jesus preaching to tens of thousands, Peter preaching to thousands, and the translating interaction before and after. But the most important ministry is transforming.
The Lord Jesus and the apostles understood the importance of transferring and translating, but the most important ministry is “transforming”. For example, Jesus took a few disciples with him to many towns and villages, and through discipleship training, turned the world upside down.
This time, during the pandemic we learned transferring (livestream worship services), we learned translating (Zoom meetings and gatherings), but most importantly we need to learn to use social media to enter our own, our relatives, or brothers and sisters’ families. We need to bring parents and children together for family worship, to read the Bible, share, and pray with them, to build up their family altar and do family discipleship, so that there is hope for transformation in lives, marriages, families and even society.
Dear pastors, brothers and sisters, we not only need to be careful when transferring information, we also need discernment when translating messages. Most importantly we need to let God’s message transform the lives of our brothers and sisters and friends, to allow God’s Word to settle, be digested and lived out. To achieve transforming ministry, we need discipleship training like Jesus with his handful of disciples, and during pandemic, making good use of today’s social media is the best way to go. In fact, some cults have long been using social media tools to attract and train up new followers. We have only now been forced to begin using social media. This is a lesson God is making us learn!
Brothers and sisters, we do not wait until the pandemic is over to serve. Right now, in the midst of the pandemic, let us learn the Word of God from each other, so that we may trust in Christ and become more and more like Christ. As the Word of God says,
“And we know that in all things (including pandemic) God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” (Romans 8:28-29a)