ALBUQUERQUE (BNM) – Cesar Perez, speaking to New Mexico Baptists, called the COVID-19 pandemic “opposition” to the Church’s mission. “Stop complaining,” he said. He urged churches to refocus on their mission and to be busy about ministry. God’s plans have not changed, he said.
Perez, the pastor for International Groups, Kingsland Church, Katy, Texas, preached one of the 2021 New Mexico Evangelism Conference’s keynote messages Feb. 22-23 at Hoffmantown Church, Albuquerque. He spoke to approximately 400 people in the Tuesday morning and evening sessions of the conference. He also led a breakout conference called “Shepherding in Crisis: Caring for Souls in a New Reality,” on Tuesday afternoon.
Perez’s Tuesday evening message dealing with COVID-19’s effects on the church referenced Acts 4, which he explained as the basics of Christian faith. Perez said that every word in the Bible describes what God wanted to accomplish His will. The principles in the Bible, he said, align saints with God’s purposes.
Perez acknowledged the necessary changes in 2020 to ministry. People were at home and not in church buildings. “We are so used to doing church the way we always did that we wonder if we can do ministry in our new situations,” he said. He encouraged participants to remember that when the church began, they met in homes. “God is still inviting us to believe that His plans are still the same,” Perez said.
The church responded to the persecution it endured in the Book of Acts. It assessed the situation. It found that even the rulers could not stop the plans of the Lord. What did the church do? It worshipped and prayed in homes. “God is inviting us to respond to our situation and go out and make disciples,” Perez said. The people in Acts spoke the Word of God boldly when empowered by the Holy Spirit. “Their persecution did not change God’s command to go out and make disciples,” he said.
Perez urged the audience to stop complaining about the pandemic and, instead, take the opportunity to reach those connections on social media and within our neighborhoods to share the Good News. “This opposition (the pandemic) helps us to assess our situation and brings us back to what God wanted all along,” he said. Perez asked several questions: Are we teaching our people to respond in a God-like manner? Are we equipping them to continue to go and make disciples in our new situation?
Perez said that to go back to the task God gave us, Christians need to empower their homes and their own people so they can be effective disciple-makers and show others the wonders of God. Leaders should encourage parents to share God with the next generation and re-assess what leaders are doing. “In the New Testament, the family was important to the church. A man needs to manage his home well. So, empower them, in the home, to go and complete the task,” Perez said.
“We are tired of all of this, but we have not completed the task yet,” Perez said. “Share the hope of glory that is in us. Now is the time to work one on one and disciple others,” Perez said. Perez concluded by saying that this is the moment. You either make it or break it.