There’s no question that we live in unusual and uncertain times. Social distancing, quarantines, and isolation are the new norm during the COVID-19 era.
As followers of Christ, in the midst of these uncertain times, we are able to cling to the promises of God as the anchor for our souls. Our hope is not found in the government, medical doctors, a stock market rebound, or a cure for a rogue virus. Our hope is in a God who is in control over all things and is working all things for his glory and our good. Let that sink in for a moment.
Just like the promise “I will be with you always” (Matthew 28:20) is still true today, we also know that the commission, “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) still stands.
So how do we as Christians make disciples in the midst of quarantine? What does discipling at a distance look like?
Even the phrase “discipling at distance” feels like an oxymoron. As disciple-makers, face-to-face meetings and discipleship groups are our bread and butter! It may take some creativity, but I believe that we can effectively continue to help people grow in their faith even in the midst of social distancing!
Here’s a few ways I’m seeking to disciple at a distance during COVID-19:
Letters/Emails/Texts: Obviously the Apostle Paul used letters as his primary way to disciple at a distance. Follow the lead of the biblical authors and take a minute to write or text your disciples to check in, encourage, remind them of biblical promises, and help them cling to Christ in the midst of uncertainty.
Video Chat: Facetime, Zoom, Skype and other video chat platforms are one of the greatest tools for a disciple-maker today! Instead of being able to meet face-to-face, use video to replace regularly scheduled discipleship meetings and d-groups. Scheduling these calls will help bring some structure to our days and will give the feel of a face-to-face meeting.
Scripture Memory and reading plans: Have a plan in place of what you will read and memorize. Scripture memory is one of the best uses of time while in isolation, and suggesting that you and your disciple memorize a couple verses each week is a great way to continue to allow God’s word to transform your life and renew your mind.
Prayer: Using this time to pray specifically for them is ultimately the best thing you can do for those you’re discipling. I love praying the prayers of the Apostle Paul from Ephesians 1:15-23 and 3:14-21, Philippians 1:9-11 and other places. Pray scripture into their lives, for specific character growth areas, and for them to be fruitful disciple-makers. Lift up your disciples before the Lord and ask him to work in their hearts and lives. This is the true work of discipling!
Ultimately, ministry and discipling is absolutely more difficult with social distancing, but if you’re creative and determined and bathing everything in prayer, I believe that this can be an incredibly fruitful season of discipling and growth.
Praying towards that end,
It may take some creativity, but I believe that we can effectively continue to help people grow in their faith even in the midst of social distancing!