Through this pandemic of 2020 God has given us many opportunities to be the church. Unfortunately, only a few churches have taken advantage of these opportunities. The ones that have embraced God’s opportunities are sharing stories of regeneration, new people coming into the church, people being baptized. One church in Kentucky baptized 156 people from the day in May when the re-entered worship through the end of August. How? The people of the church went after family, friends, and coworkers with the gospel. It was not the Sunday morning preaching, according to one of the lead pastors. It was the people. And I would venture to say that church, the people, will not stop.

In recent weeks I’ve shared about reaching out to the business community. This is one area God has certainly opened doors of opportunity for the church in 2020. You never know what impact you might have on someone. Let me share a story with you that was shared on a recent Zoom meeting with several pastors and denomination leaders. A friend of mine, Mike Stewart, Associational Mission Strategist, shared this story and gave me permission to use it.

Mike was serving as interim pastor of a small church. Following a Wednesday night prayer meeting and Bible study, the church members decided to a restaurant for food and fellowship that they had been missing. Upon deciding where to dine, that evening they walked into an empty restaurant, ate, enjoyed their time, paid their bills, and left. Since the restaurant was easy to get to, had good food, and no waiting line, the members decided to go again the following Wednesday. They continued to frequent the restaurant on Wednesday nights.

Fast forward a few weeks, Mike is visiting the bookstore next door to the restaurant. The bookstore owner approaches Mike and inquires, “Aren’t you the man who leads the church that has been going into my friend’s restaurant next door?” Mike replied that “Yes.” He was. Not knowing what was coming next, good or bad, Mike was not expecting the next statement out of the bookstore owner’s mouth.

“I want to thank you for saving my friend’s business.”

Think on that for a second. If that does not render Holy goosebumps on you, you’ve become numb to the workings of God and Christ, our Savior. Mike admitted on that Zoom call that the church had not given a thought to the opportunity in front of them or saving someone’s business. Their whole intent was to have fellowship. And all the time God was working, using that little church. Mike’s perhaps regret was that he and the church members did not capitalize on more opportunities to be intentional in that restaurant and other businesses in the community.

You never know whose life you will impact. But don’t wait until the opportunity is gone. Take advantage of what God has given us today the great opportunities of 2020. Get out in the local business community, talk to businesses, listen for the God-ordained opportunities for you and your church family. Then spring into action. Stop wringing your hands about doing church and Be the church. For more ideas on prevailing opportunities, read last week’s blog post. Whom Does God want you to impact for eternity?

George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.

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