Dr. Jason Hughes
Since last December, we’ve been sharing answers to the question: What do you see? We had many articles planned, but then March came and the pandemic hit, and plans changed. We’ve seen a lot in the year 2020 that we did not expect to see, but God has been faithful no matter what. And, we have learned some important lessons.
As we prepare to conclude this calendar year in a few weeks, we’ve asked some of our pastors to answer the question: What did you see in 2020, and what did you learn from it? The first pastor to answer that question for us in Dr. Jason Hughes, Pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church. Here is what he shared:
LIFE: Coronavirus has brought many life lessons… we hope. In God’s sovereignty we trust Him and believe that He works even COVID-19 for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). He alone conducts all things according to the council of His will (Eph 1:11). Perhaps in His grace, this pandemic has created a global opportunity for us to repent and return to God-dependence, grateful for the many things we may have often taken for granted, namely God’s grace and provision in our lives such as health, relationships, worship, and work. Initially, at least, it seemed the virus caused our nation and communities to slow down enough to prioritize what is most important. We trust that God most certainly has used the difficulties of this year to bring many to saving faith in Christ.
On the other hand, the pressures of this season have also illustrated the lostness and sin-sick heart of mankind. We saw selfishness in actions like the stock piling of toilet paper. We saw greed in the price gouging of hand sanitizers and masks. We saw the brokenness of the human condition in rising suicide, divorce, overdose and abuse statistics. In a time when we needed to come together as a nation, we somehow are more divided. Ultimately, we are smacked with the reality that hope in humanism is futile. Many things are too powerful for mere men, “but not God,” we pray the masses conclude. COVID-19 has made me even more thankful for the Lord Jesus who has secured the church and the wondrous coming kingdom ahead.
MINISTRY: We the church have also learned a lot through this pandemic. We have certainly been reminded of the privilege it is to worship together in person. Many saints with increased vulnerability to the virus have still yet to return to in person worship. There is real grief in their loss. Remember them and pray for them regularly.
We have seen that many programs and meetings that had us stretched us thin in ministry before were not as essential as we thought. We have been forced back to the basics, the most important of things. We have been reminded of the primacy of the gospel of Christ, its preaching, and disciple-making for the glory of God. One caveat is that we have learned the blessing of technology to be used as a tool for ministry. Perhaps we can continue to leverage this capability for the Great Commission. Lastly, we never knew how much we needed fellowship with one another until now. We long for potlucks, BBQ’s, and more…not just because of all that good food we miss. We long to share life together, have people in our homes more often, fellowship with neighbors and church family alike. We are much more thankful for the koinonia that being a part of the family of God provides. Perhaps as good stewards it is our job to take all of these lessons from the now infamous 2020 into 2021. May God use these lessons to bear much fruit in the ministry ahead!
Watch for more of what our Pastors have seen in 2020 in the coming days.