Planting Churches in Times of Crisis
By Martin Garcia, Director of Cyclical Los Ranchos
Over the weekend, I was reading an article written by a doctoral student, Oscar Zapata. He writes, “…among the believers of God, religiosity increased following disasters…[and]…attendance at religious services increased by close to four percent.” (I“Injuries and Loss of Life Boost Religious Faith after Disasters,” by Oscar Zapata, Science News, 2018). We are clearly living in times of crisis, and it is in these times when people think about their fragility and their need for faith in a Superior Power.
This past weekend, many churches streamed their services. The following are a couple of surprises. A friend of mine planting a new worshiping community was expecting three or four in attendance and he had over 40 participants. Today, the recording of his 30-minute devotional has reached more than 200 views. The website of another church in the Los Angeles area crashed because it couldn’t support a large number of people trying to be part of their service.
What can we learn from this? We can learn that people are sensitive to spiritual matters and they are wondering and thinking about God in the middle of their personal fears and crisis. This eventually can be an opportunity for church planters because, after this crisis, people will continue their search for something more. Church planters can meet them in this search, in their hunger for something deeper. Church planters and church leaders need to open their eyes and see what all of these people are looking for. Church planters and church leaders need to be open to God’s call to start new organically-driven worshiping communities. Yes, it is not great what we are living through now, but it can become a new beginning for the church and its relevance in our contemporary world.