When the Props Fall Out

Tetsunao Yamamori wrote:

A missionary must be content with his or her position in Jesus Christ and be able to sustain that relationship through prayer and meditation on the Word without the usual props and promptings of the church.

Tetsunao Yamamori, God’s New Envoys: A Bold Strategy for Penetrating “Closed Countries.”

If ever there was a year when all the props fell out for Christians worldwide, it was the year 2020. Who could have imagined the effect a pandemic would have on the church? We, especially in the West, who are so used to our routines of church life, were shell-shocked by the loss of in-person fellowship and worship.

As a person who has served in places where such gatherings are not taken for granted, my initial prayer was this experience would teach believers how to do church without the trappings. Having read God’s New Envoys when it first came out in the late 1980s, the seed was obviously already planted in my mind.

Christian workers in cross-cultural settings and Christians in closed countries have been learning how to sustain their relationship with Christ without a visible church for centuries. Even so, it’s a new reality for many today.

Jude wrote a letter to encourage believers to persevere through times of persecution:

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Jude 20-21 NIV

If you didn’t experience the struggle during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, how would you manage if your church closed its doors and fellowship was limited? Would your faith survive?

The meditations of this chapter are a good start in making sure we’re ready for such a reality. If not from a pandemic, Satan will not stop his efforts to shut the church down. Do you have your survival kit prepared? It’s time.

Grace and Peace

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