[READ “Loving Your Community in Crisis” on the blog for WHY we should love our community in a crisis.]
Practically speaking, how can I love my local community during a global pandemic? The missional strategy at Bethel, locally and globally, is to pray, send, and go. Below are a few suggestions under those categories. Please feel free to use these ideas with your friends, family, or small group—with proper social distancing, of course. All of these ideas can be done during a stay-at-home order. Hopefully, these ideas also stimulate your creativity to think of other ways to minister during this time.
- Offer to pray over the sick or those who have been self-isolated. Email Pastor Chris if you would like to help in those efforts to call people and pray over them.
- Walk around your neighborhood as a family and pray for each home.
- Schedule a video chat prayer time with others.
- One of the best, free resources for praying over your neighbors is blesseveryhome.com. At this site, you will find tools to help you pray over your neighbors by name. You can receive optional reminder emails to prompt you to pray over them. You also get access to a wide collection of resources to help you grow in your ability to serve others in Christ.
Give resources or donate items to community efforts.
- Go to bethelweb.org. Click on “Give” at the top and select “Benevolence and Crisis Relief” from the drop-down menu. This goes toward our church’s current efforts to minister to our communities during this crisis.
- Collect soap, hand sanitizer, supplies, etc. to be handed out to those in need.
- Donate to a local food bank. Our Cedar Lake campus is part of a food drive, so consider donating toward that effort. Bethel also is accepting food donations for our Harvest Market that is being heavily used at this time.
- Patronize local businesses, buying gift cards for later use, and encourage the owners.
- Lend or give items to the Chinese aviation students in Crown Point (international students who are not allowed to leave their apartments) to use during this time including weights/dumbbells, behind-door basketball hoops, strength bands, foosball table, Ping-Pong table, games, puzzles, art supplies, etc. If interested, email the International Student Ministry.
Seek to find ways to serve others in the name of Jesus. Here are some possibilities you can do during the stay-at-home order:
- Call your neighbors to check on them.
- Write brief thank you and encouragement cards for the local nurses and medical staff. (Cards can be dropped off at Bethel Crown Point or Bethel Hobart Portage.)
- Encourage other e-learning families through creative outlets and homework hotlines.
- Email your kids’ teachers to thank and encourage them during this time.
- Host a “swap” party on your front porch with your neighbors where you leave games, books, movies, and more on your porch in order to share those things with one another.
- Find ways to encourage grocery store workers.
- Write letters to residents of local nursing homes who are unable to have visitors.
Next week, we will give you ways to serve others after the stay-at-home order is lifted. This includes utilizing a community resource website we have created, as well as a card you can use to check on self-isolated neighbors, provide for their needs, and pray for them. Of course, we exhort you to use good hand-washing techniques and follow CDC guidelines. Moreover, Bethel has assembled a “Community Outreach Task Force,” which is divided into campus teams that are organizing Bethel-coordinated outreach efforts. More details will be coming soon, so stay tuned for how you can help through praying, sending, and going.
Finally, please let us know what you are doing to show the love of Jesus in your community by emailing us or using the social media hashtags #BethelNWI and #ForNWI.
Let’s show our community the love of Jesus and pray for people to know the unchanging truth of Jesus during these uncertain times.