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THE CHURCH IS NOTLOCKED DOWN

A few months into the “State of Public Health Emergency,” I quickly saw the impact of the pandemic and how our pastors and their congregations were coping with not being able to meet in person. The truth is, we did not prepare our churches for the lockdown. To comply with the government orders on COVID-19, we temporarily suspended all religious gatherings starting March 15, 2020. As a result, thousands of Assemblies of God churches felt cut off from each other and unable to help. The government informed us at the start that the lockdown was temporary. Then the talk was it might continue for another twelve months or longer, maybe for two more years! The panic turned into despair. But our pastors were resolved to sustain the spiritual health of God’s people and to continue the preaching of the Word. The church gatherings could continue in the scattered homes of believers, and their pastors could livestream the preaching through the internet. That was the start. The pandemic cannot silence the church! Where there’s connectivity and simple media gadgets, the church continues to minister live. Thank God for tutorials from APMM and the millennials in our churches. The pastors have been able to create quality videos that widen their reach. On any given weekend, Friday night through Sunday, the extensive social media networks are filled with uploaded preaching and church services. Prayer meetings were also happening through the internet. The quarantine restrictions continue, but the essentials — like worship, praying, preaching, mentoring — continue to serve God’s purposes throughout this lockdown. The pandemic cannot kill our motivation nor silence God’s voice. REY CALUSAY—PHILIPPINES

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