Covid Lessons and New Commitments

Written by Dr. Gordon Penfold
June 5, 2023

Covid-19 exposed preexisting issues that previously managed to slide under the surface. What was exposed when the tide rolled out on churches?

Covid-19 has impacted and continues to impact our world in more ways than expected. Some suggest that the coronavirus didn’t create all the problems we faced, but Covid-19 exposed preexisting issues that previously managed to slide by just under the surface.

Commenting on businesses that struggled during Covid, a Wall Street Journal article said this: “The coronavirus has been the proverbial tide going out, exposing who’s swimming naked.” So, what was exposed when the tide rolled out on churches?

Four Challenges Covid-19 Exposed
Challenge 1: Churches were satisfied with meetings, not with ministry
  • When Covid-19 caused churches to shut down for a season, some 25-30% of the people quit coming and never returned. Consumerism drove this phenomenon. When people lost their comfort, they moved on to other ventures.
  • Possible solution: Develop vibrant worship services of adoration, confession, solid Bible instruction, and an invitation to engage in ministry outside the walls of the church building. We must help our people not only know the truth but also live the truth by engaging in ministry.
Challenge 2: Bible Knowledge Without Genuine Discipleship
  • Somehow, we equated Bible studies with discipleship. Too often, we do life with a Bible study guide void of living with people who need Christ! I grow the most when thrust into real-life situations with people unlike me! I believe that will be true for you, also!
  • Possible solution: Take the ministry outside the walls of the church building and engage the community directly with the good news of the gospel.
Challenge 3: A failure to Develop Leaders
  • The leadership shortage is part of the fruit of poor disciple-making. A denominational leader said they have over 150 churches without pastors and no replacements. They are missing a whole generation of thirty-something pastors. Not only that, but many churches are also leadership-lite.
  • Possible solution: Pastors and other leaders should invite and include others in ministry. Do not visit the hospital alone. Take someone with you, and train them. Archie Parish of Evangelism Explosion stated, “Evangelism is caught, not taught.”
Challenge 4: Pastoral Care Vs. Congregational Care
  • For centuries, churches assumed that ministry was the pastor’s job. He was the hired gun to do the congregation’s bidding. During the pandemic, many church people assumed the pastor would cover all the ministry bases and abandoned the church to the pastor. As a result, many pastors are exhausted and frustrated.
  • The solution: God designed pastor-teachers and evangelists to equip the saints “to do the work of the ministry,” not “do the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:11-12). This fact means two things. First, pastors must be willing to delegate. Second, church members need to use their gifts so that the body of Christ, the church, will function fully and well.

Let’s not waste the lessons of the pandemic! The Lord has much to teach us!

Thank you to Dr. Gordon Penfold of Turnaround Pastor, Inc. for this week’s article. You can find him at and

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