For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 1 Corinthians 16:9 (NKJV)
For some time now, I have been periodically coming back to this verse. I keep asking myself this question: “Does Paul see this as an opportunity in spite of many adversaries or does he believe that because there are so many adversaries, it is worth pursuing?”
It should go without stating, but I’ll state it nonetheless, wherever there is a great opportunity or an open door, we can be certain that opposition will take notice and arise. Conversely, if we see what appears to be an open door, but there is no apparent opposition, is it really a door that we should take seriously?
So, in evaluating opportunities, will we look for doors with little resistance and few adversaries, convincing ourselves that we have found something that has been overlooked by those who oppose us or are we ready to storm the “gates of Hell” for the sake of the Gospel?
At this time, the doors of many churches are closed, at least as far as public attendance is concerned. Instead of throwing our hands up in desperation or resignation because familiar doors are not open at this time, we should ask ourselves, “What doors are open for us and our ministry?”
No one knows exactly what the landscape will look like when we emerge on the other side of this crisis, but most everyone agrees that things will probably never again be quite the same. I can see some people, who are very frustrated that they do not have anyone to hug or give a hearty handshake to, rushing back with great excitement when the doors of the church are once again opened.
However, there will not be an insignificant number of people who will be forever changed by the present pandemic. They will be hesitant, perhaps even fearful, to gather with large numbers of people.
So even though, for some people, the old familiar doors may no longer be an option, we should be spending considerable time assessing new doors of opportunity to reach these people, whether or not they were part of our church or fellowship beforehand.
Even right now, churches and ministries are being forced to find new ways to pastor and to lead. If we do not aggressively pursue tools and approaches that enable us to do these things at the present time, we may find that our congregations or constituents will either find someone who will care for them or they will just drift away.
At present we have a great opportunity because people are uncertain of what the future holds, and they are looking for answers. It is at times like these that the seeds of revival are sown so you can either focus your attention on the door that is presently open and develop a strategy to fulfill your mission or wait in the hope that things will return to the way that they were before.
In conclusion, I challenge us with this exhortation from Jude: “…I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish.” Jude 3 (The Message)