In Coronavirus Lockdown, Churches Turn to Media
February 12, 2020 • Chinese
More than 1,000 people have died in mainland China as a result of confirmed cases of the coronavirus outbreak. As the disease continues to spread from its epicenter in Wuhan, the streets of many cities are nearly empty except for emergency vehicles.
Still, church leaders in China aren’t completely stopping their activities and services. Though their doors may be closed, many church communities are turning to online-based worship services, and the Christian Reformed Church in North America is helping to make that possible.
“Churches in China’s large cities have already been told to expect to be closed for the next three months at least,” says Pastor Jerry An, our Chinese ministry leader.
Jerry has spent much of the past few weeks clearing the team’s schedules to develop new media ministry programs and messages relevant to the effects of the coronavirus.
“We know there are a lot of Christians who are stuck in their homes right now,” shares Jerry. “Many traveled back home for Chinese New Year celebrations in late January, and now they are unable to return to their work or home.” “Christians are looking for faith-based resources that they can use from their home,” Jerry adds. “And non-Christians are looking for answers about the virus as well as to life’s biggest questions.”
The video also offers encouragement for viewers suffering from depression or other mental health issues—another concern as people spend long hours in isolation—and it includes an interview with Dr. Anding Shen, a professor of biology at Calvin University. In the interview, Shen shares insights from her research on HIV, relating it to the coronavirus outbreak.
More Work Ahead
In addition to special program recordings, An has been hosting special video conferences for pastors and other worship leaders, training them with tools they can use to do web-based church services.
“I’ve been leading these types of trainings regularly for church leaders who can’t meet in person due to government restrictions,” says An. “But now we have growing desperation for this need as nearly every church in China is pausing their worship services due to the virus.”
If you would like to support An and BTGMI’s Chinese ministry team in their efforts, they have set a goal of raising $10,000 for special coronavirus-based messages and media training.