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'We Need to Keep Our Eyes on Jesus': Ronnie Floyd Tells How COVID-19 is Re-Shaping Ministry for Pastors, the Church

04-01-2020
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We've already seen how the global coronavirus pandemic has forced churches across the country to closed their doors.  In response, many are now holding services online.

But according to the White House's Coronavirus Task Force, in the next two to three weeks America will see a peak in COVID-19 deaths. 

The health crisis has many Christians seeking how to best minister to those in need.

Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Dr. Ronnie Floyd told CBN News that what we see happening are unprecedented days for the church.

Last week, the SBC canceled the denomination's annual meeting for the first time in the organization's 75-year history due to the outbreak.

"I was the pastor of the same church in northwest Arkansas for over 32 years," said Floyd. "And it's going to be an enormous challenge, there's no doubt about it. It's changed the way we communicate with people. It's changed the moment that somebody gets sick."

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"I mean, how does a pastor deal with the people that are sick they cannot go see?  That he's forbidden to go see," Floyd asked. 

Many hospitals and nursing homes have closed their doors and placed COVID-19 patients in isolation to prevent the disease from spreading. 

Priests are reportedly administering last rites over the telephone while families sit helplessly at home. And sadly, many who have passed from the virus died alone. 

Floyd said the pandemic presents unique challenges for clergy who are normally there for families during life's dark times.

"How do you deal with burials, funerals or memorial services," said Floyd.  And so, these are issues we have never dealt with.  How do you comfort a widow? How do you comfort the children? These are just some enormous challenges in this climate."

Floyd is encouraging pastors and ministers to just do the best they can and lean heavily upon God's word and prayer during the difficult days ahead.

"You give it your best shot," he said. "You communicate, even if it has to be through technology. You've got to be more intentional than ever before."

Floyd also explained that as Christians we must look for opportunities to share the hope we have.

"Bottom line is we are born again Christians," he said.  "We say we love the Lord. We're going to minister to people. We will all be placed in situations that perhaps we've never been placed in before."  

But Floyd believes that God may be allowing this crisis for a bigger purpose than we can see at the moment.

"While this may be challenging in a negative way for some, we need to understand God may be using this to revive his church and to call his people back to him," Floyd noted.  "And perhaps begin the next great awakening in the United States."

"We need to keep our eyes on Jesus. We need to preach the word with power, and we need to believe God that he wants to use it for his glory," Floyd said.

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