Finding Purpose in a Pandemic:
Spiritual Growth during Quarantine
Times of crisis cause us to stop and reflect. As Christians, we know that we were created for a purpose. But what is that purpose for us individually and as a congregation? How can we fulfill that purpose, on our own and as a community of believers?
As the current health crisis caused by the spread of coronavirus severely limits our mobility, Christ’s calling on his followers remains the same. We are to remain in him and connected to each other so that we can be his presence in the world. Though we are unable to meet together for corporate worship, we can meet with him. And, thanks to technology, we can “meet” with each other.
The following guide is designed to encourage you toward continued growth in Christ and with each other. We hope that you will experience rich, soul-nourishing time with our Lord, discerning this time of containment as his invitation to an extended Sabbath.
We also hope that you will find a friend or two to partner with you on this journey. Some people prefer to call, some email or text, still others like to write letters. Find what works for you. We recognize his hand in all of life, working his purpose. Our prayer is that we come out of this valley much stronger than when we entered it.
What Scripture Tells Us
The following verses serve as a guide for us in this unprecedented season:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
1 Timothy 6:6-8
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
Drawing Closer to God
Thoughts for the journey:
If being more like Jesus Christ is the goal, then we will need to develop his character and habits. Christ had many distractions and pressures to turn from his mission. What habits developed his character and fueled his mission?
In scripture, we see Jesus spending time alone with the Father, praying, in scripture and applying it, and maintaining supportive relationships. Central to all this was his acceptance and abiding in the Father’s love. (See John 15:4-5) Everything else flowed out of it. We can be more like our Lord only if we develop his character through following his habits.
Here are some resources to help us grow in Christ and to make Him known during this season:
- In Your Everyday Life: Be purposeful in your daily and weekly habits
- Daily schedule – To help your family cultivate spiritual, physical, and emotional health.
- Set specific goals for yourself and your family
- Be intentional about keeping close family and friends updated on how you and your family are doing through:
- Video chats: FaceTime, Google Hangouts
- Mailing letters or art projects
- Phone calls
- Read a book (Here are a few of our recommendations.):
- In Your Spiritual Disciplines: Be passionate about growing as a disciple of Jesus
- Develop a personal prayer practice
- Use this helpful guide to help you start spending more time in prayer – from praying 3-minutes a day to 30-minutes a day over 3-weeks.
- Develop a Bible reading practice
- Develop a fasting practice
- Plan to fast for breakfast and lunch one time each week
- A guide for beginners on fasting
- Develop a Scripture memorization/meditation practice
- Read this article on why it is important and how to do it
- Develop a personal prayer practice
- With Your Family (or Roommates/Friends): Be intentional to cultivate a vibrant home
- Pray out loud with your household every day
- Read this article by Brad Hambrick on how to talk to your kids about the coronavirus
- Check out this resource for a weekly family devotional activity
- Play some indoor and outdoor games
- Do a group workout
- Take a prayer-walk – it’s physically, spiritually, and emotionally good for you!
- Do projects around the house
- With Your Community: Pursue ways to love Milwaukee and the world
- With Your Small Group: Though from a distance, technology helps us to communicate with others, as we encourage brothers and sisters to grow in Christ and to proclaim his love and truth.
While we won’t be able to gather as small groups in person, we want to encourage every group to continue to relationally engage and meet virtually every week. This is a great time for you to assist your “technologically challenged” small group leader, as you use a virtual meeting platform! You can find each week’s small group guide included in our weekly resources.