With everything going on right now, it’s really easy to feel completely out of control. You’re hearing conversations about layoffs and recessions. You’re worried about your jobs, your finances and your families. Let’s talk about what you can actually control during this time of crisis:
You will get through this. Just remember: hope is greater than fear.
“British scientist Neil Ferguson ignited the world’s drastic response to the novel Wuhan coronavirus when he published the bombshell report predicting 2.2 million Americans and more than half a million Brits would be killed.”
“But after tens of thousands of restaurants, bars, and businesses closed, Ferguson is now retracting his modeling, saying he feels ‘reasonably confident’ our health care system can cope when the predicted peak of the epidemic arrives in a few weeks.”
“Ferguson, who has since tested positive for the Wuhan virus himself, has not issued any official retraction or apologies for his incorrect predictions.”
This article does a fine job of showing why better data is needed to inform the United States’ response to the Wuhan coronavirus.
A Few Quotes
1)”‘Without data you’re just another person with an opinion.’ These are the words of W. Edwards Deming, who helped develop the sampling techniques still used by the U.S. Department of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
2)“[H]ow does the number of cases compare to current influenza cases, for example? We don’t know. Are numbers adjusted for population to make comparisons easier and meaningful? The media simply reports new cases without context and warns the public to stay home to stop the spread of the virus.”
3)“The New York Times reports that in the United States and United Kingdom, national quarantine decisions were strongly influenced by a report from Imperial College that simulated the possible courses of the pandemic and the impact on each country’s health-care system. The simulation was done based using the best available data—from Italy and China—but it was necessary to make many assumptions because there are so many unknowns.
“We counted approximately 20 such assumptions that have yet to be proven. The key unknown factors were:
How infectious the disease will be in the United States and United Kingdom.
The length of the incubation time.
Whether individuals are immune to re-infection in the short term.
The number of people who will require critical care.
The proportion of people in critical care who will die of the disease.
“This modelling exercise assumes the rates from China and Italy a) reported accurately and b) applicable to the United States. But it is unknown how country specific factors like population density, use of public transportation, waste treatment, smoking rates, population age distribution, and others affect the applicability of the data to the United States.
“Even if reported accurately, the rates from Italy and China will not precisely reflect what will happen in the United States. But are they close enough that our current decisions based on that data are correct?”
4)“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could do tests with representative samples and repeat it every three days in the coming weeks. The relatively small number of tests diverted to gather data wouldn’t meaningfully detract from ongoing treatment.”
We are living in shaky times. As a global pandemic of coronavirus makes its way around the globe, taking lives, crashing stock markets and threatening the livelihood of millions, people are afraid. How are you doing handling the fear. Or maybe put another way, how’s your faith holding up? In this special edition of the Gary Wilkerson podcast, Gary is joined by Keith Holloway, the Senior Director of Missions Development at World Challenge to talk about faith in a time of fear. We hope this podcast gives you hope and encouragement that even in desperate times like these, God is in control.
Notable Quotes from the Podcast
“…in the midst of all the shaking that’s going on in the world today, there is an unshakable foundation. There is an internal foundation of an unshakable faith, of an unshakable hope, of an unshakable resolve that I know my Redeemer lives and I know there’s joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me, and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”
“We are born again believers. We’re walking in the natural, but we’re also being led and guided and controlled by the Holy Spirit. So, it’s an awesome time for us to not feel diminished, but to actually feel prepared for this hour where we have an answer of the hope that lies within us…”
Bible Verses Mentioned in the Podcast
“When God spoke from Mount Sinai His voice shook the earth, but now He makes another promise: ‘Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.’ This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe.”
Keith Holloway is the Senior Director of Missions Development at World Challenge. Keith is a CHE trainer, facilitator, and a member of the Global CHE Network’s Representative Council. He and his wife Maureen live in Colorado Springs; they have six grown children and seven grandchildren.
About Gary Wilkerson
Gary Wilkerson is the President of World Challenge, an international mission organization that was founded by his father, David Wilkerson. He is also the Founding Pastor of The Springs Church, which he launched in 2009 with a handful of people. He has traveled nationally and internationally at conferences and conducted mission ventures such as church planting, starting orphanages, clinics, feeding programs among the poorest of the poor and the most unreached people of the earth. Gary and his wife Kelly have four children and live in Colorado Springs, CO.
“‘[N]o weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me’…” — The Lord, Isaiah 54:17, NIV
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” — Jesus, John 14:27, NIV
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” — Paul, 2 Timothy 1:7, KJV
We are praying for you, your families and your churches during this crisis!
Many churches are still navigating service cancellations due to government restrictions, discipleship efforts due to quarantine and ministry to vulnerable members in the midst of a pandemic. And, I agree that those efforts should be first priority (Matthew 28:16-20; Galatians 6:10).
However, if this crisis stretches into the next few weeks and even months (I pray that does not happen), the economic fallout could and probably will be severe. And, the church should be prepared to meet community as well as church needs (Matthew 5:16). Over the last few days, I have spoken to or heard from government officials, church leaders and other community organizations about community needs and how the church can meet them; and I have compiled a list from those interactions. Here are seven ways your church can serve your community during this time:
Contact, Pray for and Assist Local Officials. Reach out to your mayor, local health officials and school officials to (1) tell them you are praying for them and (2) ask them how you can help. These officials may tell you that all needs are currently being met. But, if this crisis drags on, the need will intensify and your help will be needed.
Call People and Deliver Care Kits. In a recent podcast episode, Jay Height from the Shepherd Community Center in Indianapolis shared with me that some elderly individuals go months without human interaction. This is a tragedy at any point, but it is especially problematic now. Why not put a team together to call shut-ins, other church members and even names in the phone book to offer prayer and help? When you identify a need (especially for an elderly individual), offer to deliver food or other essential items while observing CDC procedures.
Assist Public Schools. Last week, a legislator shared with me that 30% of the students in one of the school districts in his area are on the free and reduced lunch program. In other words, these students rely on their school for daily nutrition. Public schools are scrambling to find ways to safely continue these food services, so ask if your church can assist in some way.
Offer Space. Many churches lack other resources, but space is not one of them. I heard from one pastor that is assisting a local school by allowing the school to use the church parking lot to distribute food to students. And, this pastor also offered space for an emergency medical facility if the local hospital is overwhelmed.
ProvideChild Care. As I am sure you are well aware, schools are closed; and, that means that many parents are scrambling to figure out child care. This is, of course, especially important for workers in the health, safety, and essential service fields during this pandemic. Some churches with existing preschools are expanding their services to meet these needs and others are exploring the launch of such a ministry (you will, of course, need to work with local officials to comply with regulations). By the way, Indiana is already facing a child care shortage; so, perhaps this could be a long-term rather than a short-term strategy for meeting community needs.
Donate Funds or Food to a Food Bank, The Salvation Army or a similar organization. Because kids are out of school and because many workers in the food service, travel and hospitality industries are either being laid off or having their hours cut, food and essentials such as toilet paper are in high demand. So, organize a fundraiser or food drive for a local food bank or similar organization. Make sure you communicate with the food bank or ministry beforehand to ensure compliance with CDC recommendations and to determine which items are most needed.
Provide Resources to Those Experiencing Job Loss or Reduced Hours. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development has announced measures to assist individuals that have been laid off or have had their hours cut due to the pandemic. Point individuals to the designated website so they can sign up for these resources. Also, some churches are specifically raising funds for and distributing assistance to individuals in hard-hit industries.
From the early church to the Ebola outbreak, the church has responded to plague and disease with love, hope and help. Now, it’s our turn.
I hope these ideas help you and your church as you serve your community!
Also, we are in contact with government officials (including the governor’s office) and other ministries, and are working with them to coordinate response efforts. We would love to know what you and your church are doing so we can compare and contrast best practices and let government officials know about the church’s efforts to combat this pandemic and serve people in need.
Will you take a moment and fill out this brief survey so we know how you are serving your community and how we can best coordinate with government officials and equip the church in Indiana?
I’ll close with this quote by George Whitefield, which has been on mind lately, “We are immortal until our work on earth is done.” Let’s gobe the church!