Hi, this is Bernie Dake. You're listening to The Salvation Army's Words of Life. So last week we started a three-week series highlighting the top 10 most listened to episodes of 2022. This week we're going to share an episode from a series called The Post-COVID Church.
Bernie Dake was joined by a panel of Salvation Army officers and leaders from around the USA South. And this episode was the last in that series called Where Do We Go From Here? I think it's really valuable for us to hear this episode as the church because it reminds us to not lose the fervor that we had in that time.
And you can hear it in the panel's voices. So while we may be slowly removing ourselves from a COVID world, it's just important for us to remember the lessons that we learned during this very difficult time. Visit salvationarmyradio.org, go to our Words of Life page, and we'll have a link to this series. Welcome back everybody. We really have been so privileged to sit around this room with these people that are really seeking God's will for their lives each and every day in the communities that they serve. And I've been encouraged by the conversation. It's unfortunate that this is the last opportunity we have to kind of dialogue, but I hope that it doesn't stop here for you and for us. We've talked about technology and we've talked about challenges and we've talked about opportunities where we've been able to serve in our community, whether we were in the four walls of our building or not. But I think there's a theme that keeps coming up. And Nick, you pointed out, you know, I talked about being depressed during this time.
You've gotten multiple texts or people have talked to you about maybe being empty or feeling an emptiness. The Salvation Army has had an incredible opportunity to serve through an emotional and spiritual care line that we treated like our normal disaster deployment, where people were assigned to this to answer the phones and come alongside people looking for hope. And Angie, you've had an opportunity to serve in that capacity. I think you might have a story that we could all benefit from.
Well, on the hope line, it was an amazing opportunity. You know, I'd be sitting at home or cooking dinner and then all of a sudden my phone would ring and I'd have to leave and I'd go into the phone. And every day we would get a phone call from a gentleman in Chicago. But he was someone who was lonely. He didn't have family. He didn't know really. He didn't have anyone to talk to. And so he would call us every single day and talk to us. And he just needed to know that somebody cared. And we found that with a lot of the phone calls. It was just people that were looking for hope.
And it took me back. We served in the Myrtle Beach area for five years. And one of the hurricanes that we had, I got a phone call in the middle of Christmas applications from a gentleman and he said, my community needs The Salvation Army. I was like, OK, how can I help you? He said, we need some hope. My neighbors need hope.
And who else better to call to bring hope to my people than The Salvation Army? And so throughout this with the hope one that we have and even with the people calling in to get financial services at our core and everything, I find people just looking for some hope. They need a word of encouragement. They need to know someone cares.
They need to know that there's somebody, something bigger than this pandemic. And so I find that that word hope has been so important for me to remember. No matter what we're doing, we're called to share the hope of Jesus Christ through the food on the phone. You know, the prayer opportunities that have arisen through this, you know, with your food pantry.
I'm sure talking with people in our community, that opportunity to share the hope and the love of Jesus Christ. And we're not done with this episode. But if you need someone to talk to, grab a pen or a pencil and write this number down. It would be one eight four four four five eight four six seven three. That's our hope line. And you can call it any time. But write this down.
One eight four four four five eight four six seven three. I have found hope in Jesus Christ. Amen. And as ministers of the gospel, you have had some incredible opportunities to come alongside people and offer that hope. I wonder if there's a story that anyone has particularly related to how you could follow up with someone that has come to know Jesus through the ministry that you've been given. I think one thing we have to be mindful of through this is I'm very big and that the church needs to continue to grow.
Those obviously coming to know the Lord Jesus as their savior. That's our that's our call as well. And when we think about getting back into the church, when we're saying you could come back in, but it has to be this way and we're only going to take a handful of people.
Well, how are you going to grow when we're really trying to limit instead of grow? So when we're reaching these people and engaging people within our communities and the spiritual care and that we we also we don't want to just leave it with them and send them off and say good luck. But how are we going to continue that follow up and getting their phone number, getting their text, getting their email, figuring out a way to engage and continue to meet with them when we don't always have the traditional formats of in church programing or in church worship service.
And I think we just have to be creative and innovative in that way and be intentional. We're intentional about continuing that engagement through it all and not give up and bring them through not only their salvation, the salvation process and helping them through that, but through the discipleship process. We're also called to do that and share the word with them and help them through their spiritual journey and not just say, here's the word of God.
Good luck. But how can we really be continued to engage in their discipleship process? I think if people have something to do, they're more apt to stay engaged. And Liz, you spoke into that, particularly by getting your soldiers engaged, your members engaged. Yeah, I think sometimes we forget how important an invitation is. And I think if we just extend those invitations as officers to our soldiers, to our community, will you come and help us? Will you come join?
And then flipping it also to the soldiers and asking the soldiers, you know, don't forget, like call me or invite me to your home. Because I think in those small and like the small group setting, that is discipleship. That's the 12. Right. And that's where you can have that friction and that love and that family together, but never forget the power of just the simple invitation.
It goes back to Steve Carter's book Invitational Life. You know, we have to be OK to fail. We have to be OK.
But as long as we are taking that bold step and saying, hey, come first, come to Jesus. But, you know, it might be through other other means, but we've got to be OK to get a no. That's hard. So it's hard for me. I can't speak for him, but it's hard for me to get a no sometimes.
But we've got to, we've just got to put those, got to put the invite out there. Chan, any thoughts related to what we've talked about as we come to the end of our time together? Actually, I was preparing like a sermon for the Korean and I just read like Hebrews chapter 12. There's mention about like discipline.
But I just got a call from someone and they had a conversation for a long time. And then kind of they thought that this is kind of judgment. But this judgment is the end.
Just that's it. But discipline, there's a hole. So why just got discipline us? Because he wants us to be holy, like resemble him. We are the children of God. So sometimes, but the church has a form, like we think we think like it's kind of the only form. But sometimes we deny the power. So we have to accept like the power transformative, like the being, not the doing. So the essential aspect of what we do is what's the principle?
What's the reason? Rather than like just go, just go ahead. But we have to rejuvenate what we believe, what we do. And then we can make it like you already mentioned about discipleship. We have to make a discipleship.
But adding to that, this conversation that I was studying something and then there is a debate of leadership, discipleship. But we have to change like the sheep is S-H-I-P. But we have to change S-H-E-E-P. A little human center. But we have to refocus on the God center. Then once we just hands off, then God walk through this.
So like sheep will follow the shepherd. Nice. Thank you.
That's a good word. I just want to say one more thing, if you don't mind. I think we just out of all of this, we think COVID in the world and secular view as evil. God can take this.
And I truly believe he is using this. And what if, my question is, what if God allowed this for a very specific purpose, especially in the church? What if we've been saying, well, we're stuck in our buildings. How are we going to get out and reach more people and the church is declining?
What if he says, you know what, I tried to help you do this, but I got to throw this, throw this out there so you can immobilize. And if I, if you think of it that way, that this needs to be used in a positive sense to reach more people for Jesus Christ. And not always. We're going to defeat Satan and we're going to, which we do need to, but it's more where he's tried to throw this evil on us and we're going to get back to normal. That can't be our mindset. Our mindset has to be, this is bad and bad things have happened, but God can use it for good. And here's how we're going to reach more people and bring more people into his kingdom.
Amen. I hope that this time has been an encouragement to any of those that have heard this or are seeing this broadcast. And we pray that God would be honored in the conversation. I'm going to ask, Captain Joachim, if you would just have a word of prayer with us. And if you don't know Jesus or if you are looking to find a hope that is in Jesus, please reach out to us through the website, through an email, call the Hope Line, look up Plan of Salvation wherever you are, or contact your local Salvation Army. Ask for the Salvation Army officer there and tell them what you're looking for. And I guarantee you, they would be privileged to lead you to the King of Kings.
Antoine. Let's pray. Oh God in Heaven, maker of all things good, Lord, we do believe that you are using this time of COVID for a good thing. And Lord, even though we cannot see it, even though we don't understand it all the time, God, we do trust you because we know that you are the faithful God. Lord, we know that you deserve the very best for those who love you. And God, we know that you are patient and wanting all to come to salvation. So in the name of Jesus, I pray that you would continue to use these days to convict the hearts of us, your people, that we would reach out to those who are desperately in need of the saving grace of Christ Jesus.
Lord, we pray so much that you would continue to make us uncomfortable in our church buildings. God, we pray that you would continue to make us open to what it is new that you would have us to try. And God, give us the courage that we don't have to be afraid to fail. But God, that we would just continue to step out in the faith to be doers of the word, and that we wouldn't just hear it and be content. But God, that we would want to put it into action, that we would want to be people of action and movement.
God, that we would want to be change agents in our communities, that God, people would come to know you as their personal Lord and Savior. That is our prayer. That is my sincere prayer in this moment.
God, also just pray for our wonderful Salvation Army. God, that you would continue to open up our minds, God, that we would continue to shape and be formed to an agent that is mobile, that we are agile and willing to be flexible and to recreate our services and programs and initiatives in a way that we are keeping the main thing the main thing, and that is sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. God, that is probably the prayer of all of us in this group, and I pray that it would be the prayer of all who listen to this podcast, God, that you would make us mobile as a church, as a universal Christian church, that we would be more mobile and flexible, that we would be having opportunities to share the gospel in new and fresh ways, that somebody would hear something that comes out of our mouth and somebody would see something that we're doing, and they would be encouraged to ask the question, what is that all about? And hallelujah, God, that we would be able to share your love with those people. God, we pray that you would get all the honor and glory out of this COVID. God, that you would shine brighter through this time, and that, God, when we come on the other side of this, we do believe there is an end in sight. When we come on the other side of this, God, that we would be fresher, that we would be more open to try new things, and, God, that the main thing would be the main thing again, that we would be sharing your love freely with all those who are within our reach or fear of influence. God, we love you, and we pray these things in Christ Jesus' name. Amen.
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