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Opinions of Friday, 24 July 2020

Columnist: Rev. TR Bosomtwe

The Church and COVID-19: Dear Christian, why do you still stay at home on Sundays?

Rev. TR Bosomtwe, Associate Pastor, Holy Ghost Revival Centre (Assemblies of God Church) Rev. TR Bosomtwe, Associate Pastor, Holy Ghost Revival Centre (Assemblies of God Church)

It is about two months since the Government eased the restrictions on religious and social gatherings. Expectedly, the announcement was met with mixed reactions from the Christian community in Ghana.

Some of the churches could not wait for the next Sunday to resume on-site church service. Others decided to continue with the online streaming of their worship service until such a time that the leadership of those churches will decide otherwise.

Thankfully those who decided to resume on-site service have been doing very well in adhering to the safety guidelines. I heard a Pastor say, the Church is the most disciplined institution in the world.” I could not agree with him more.

According to the safety guidelines, children, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension are admonished to stay home as much as possible.

Obviously, the exclusion of these people from worship service will, and, is affecting church attendance negatively. However, there is another group of people who do not fall into any of the afore mentioned groups but have for whatever reasons decided to stay away from on-site Church Service.

The question on my mind, in case you are one of them, is, why are you still staying at home on Sundays when you are supposed to be in church? In my interaction with some friends, a few reasons and explanations have been given.

The Fear of COVID-19

Some of the people I interacted with are so afraid of COVID-19. It becomes even worse when they hear of the case counts going up. Is the fear of Covid-19 justified? Yes, to some extent! I will be the last person to encourage people to be careless with their movements in these times. I however find the fear of getting infected with the virus at church quite unmeritorious and unfounded.

Do you go the markets? Do you go to work? Do you join public transports? Have you registered for the Voters ID card? Well, if the answers are positive then upon what basis do you think you will catch the virus at church? Does not the Bible provide enough encouragements against fear and anxiety? Are there not enough measures in place to guarantee your safety? My dear friend, Fear Not!

We have become used to staying at home on Sundays

For Christians who really build their lives around God's word. It is not for nothing that Sunday, the first day of the week, is also called the Lord?s Day. It is called the Lords Day because that was the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead. The early church hallowed that day and observed the first day of the week as the day of worship.

A Christian will always feel uncomfortable if he/she does not go to church on Sundays. Of course we all had to be home for close to three months and during that period; online service was the way out.

If you have become so used to staying at home on Sundays without going to church, and without any desire to go or join the online service, then my dear Christian friend, you are backsliding! Actually, you have backslidden! The biblical instruction that you should not forsake the meeting together of the brethren is still in Hebrews 10:25, and relevant now more than ever.

Some Other Reasons

I have also interacted with people who say they are either taking care of their parents, some of whom are aged, with others having underlying health conditions. Some young couples have also argued that they have to be home with the children and consequently, cannot be part of the on-site Service. These are legitimate reasons I must say! But how come you do not join the church online?

Are you caught in Satan's Agenda?

I belong to the school of thought that believes that there is a grand satanic agenda to suppress the Church in the world. Leaders of nations of the world may not even be aware of the implications of some of their decisions, and how they are innocently falling in that agenda. Already Satan has succeeded in making some people believe that the Church is not safe. He has made people believe that church leaders do not have their best interest at heart. He has convinced others that churches are only interested in their money.

Dear friend, do not add to the statistics. Are you not concerned that you do not read the Bible the way you used? Have you not taken note of how you enjoy movies and Telenovelas more than prayer meetings, including the ones held online?

Conclusion

So my dear Christian friend, why have you not been going to church on Sundays? If it is because of the reasons mentioned earlier, then you will agree with me that there is always a way out. At least you can follow online. You may have concerns which have not been raised in this piece. Without a doubt, the Church has seen many problems. There have been scandals involving some church leaders.

Some have duped and taken advantage of gullible members and, betrayed the trust of many. The Bible says all these charlatans will have their day!

Notwithstanding these challenges, the Church remains the safest place to be in this pandemic, may be second to the home, and it remains the best place to raise your family! Dear Christian friend, go to church on Sunday!

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