ONE-THIRD OF AUSTRALIANS THINK MORE ABOUT GOD AS A RESULT OF THE PANDEMIC

God uses catastrophes for His purposes. Since the Covid -19 pandemic started, Australians are experiencing a renewed spiritual awakening with three in ten praying more often now. Moreover, Prayer Groups are more active and growing.

Australian Prayer Network
Building prayer across the nation

A new report (McCrindle Research) has revealed that the experience of COVID-19 has caused many Australians to experience a renewed spiritual search. A third of Australians have thought more about God, while 28% have prayed more. During the pandemic, almost half of Australians have thought more about the meaning of life (47%) or their own mortality (47%). The collective experience of the pandemic has ushered in a return to a focus on the local community, with half of Australians (53%) valuing a strong local community more than they did three years ago. The local church is a key element of the local community with three in four Australians (76%) agreeing the churches in their local area are making a positive difference to their community.

The research, which was conducted by McCrindle Research and surveyed 1,000 Australians also found that two-thirds of Australians are likely to attend a church service either online (64%) or in-person (67%) if personally invited by a friend or family member. Far from religion and spirituality being only for older Australians, Gen Z (45%) are twice as likely as Baby Boomers (21%) to be extremely or very likely to attend an online church service if personally invited by a friend or family member. Mark McCrindle, Founder and Principal of McCrindle Research says, “This data is worth reflecting on a little longer: in this seemingly secular era, where the church is perceived by many commentators to be on the decline and culturally outdated, almost half of all young adults invited to a church service by a friend or family member would very likely attend.”

The report also found that Australians are accepting of others’ religious views. Nine in ten (90%) agree that in Australia people should have the freedom to share their religious beliefs if done in a peaceful way, even if those beliefs are different from mainstream community views. There is, however, wavering support for religious symbolism in public life. Almost two in five Australians (39%) agree that Christian practices in public life such as parliament opening in prayer, oaths in court being taken on the Bible, or Christian chaplains in hospitals or jails should be stopped. Three in five (61%), however, disagree and are therefore open to Christian practices in public life continuing.

Interestingly, religious discrimination is a genuine issue in Australia with almost three in ten Australians (29%) having experienced religious discrimination, this equates to about half of those who identify with a religion which is six in ten Australians. Australians who identify with a non-Christian religion are more likely to have experienced discrimination (54%) than Protestants (27%) or Catholics (32%). Religious discrimination is also more likely to be experienced by younger Australians who are four times as likely as their older counterparts to say they have experienced religious discrimination (51% Gen Z cf. 13% Baby Boomers).

Source: McCrindle Research

COVID-19 IS REFINING MY CHURCH

God has not stopped working in our midst. (report by Josh Daffern of Centreville Baptist Church USA). In fact, He’s used this COVID-19 crisis to refine our church, fulfilling 1 Peter 4:12, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you. I pray the same is happening in your church through this crisis.

1. This crisis has built resilience in our faith. I have been continually inspired as I’ve checked on our church family. Instead of “woe is me” and bitter complaining, I’ve seen a strength and resilience bloom in the hearts of our church. They want to spend less time talking about themselves and more time asking about how others are doing and inquiring where and how they can help and give back. Their faith has not weakened during this crisis, it has only strengthened.

2. This crisis has fueled new generosity. Like everyone else, the tentacles of this spreading crisis is having an economic impact above and beyond the health impact. But my church has continued to give faithfully, and they’re even going above and beyond to collect food and other items to give away to hundreds of families in our local community. Our church holds to outrageous generosity as a core value, and this crisis is allowing us the chance to truly live that value out.

3. This crisis has forced us to invest in our online presence. Like many other churches, our online presence was not what we wished it was. But it’s hard to invest and expand your online presence when you’re so focused on all the in-person events that happen on a weekly basis. When this crisis hit, we shifted our ministries to online. More than just a temporary placeholder, we’ve leveraged this opportunity to expand not just worship services but all of our ministries to have an online presence. There is still much more we can do, but we’ve jumped years ahead in just a few short months. When we resume our on-campus worship services, our online ministries will remain, because everyone we’re trying to reach lives online. This crisis has forced us to go where people are living, and I for one am grateful for that.

4. This crisis has refocused our attention on what’s important. Where I live (just outside of Washington, D.C.) can seem like one constantly spinning hamster wheel. There’s always someplace to go, there’s always something to do, traffic is always jammed. This crisis has refocused my attention (and the attention of my church) on what’s truly important: family and faith. I am grateful for that refocusing.

5. This crisis has opened up new opportunities to share the gospel. Like the early church in Acts 8, this trial has forced us out of our comfort zone, and we have taken the gospel with us. We’re interacting with our neighbors in ways we haven’t before. New people (and people who would never attend in person) are watching online and hearing the good news of Jesus.

PROPHECY BY DAVID WILKERSON IN 1986

“I see a plague coming on the world and the bars and church and government will shut down. The plague will hit New York City and shake it like it has never been shaken. The plague is going to force prayerless believers into radical prayer and into their Bibles and repentance will be the cry from the man of God in the pulpit. And out of it will come a third Great Awakening that will sweep America and the world.” 

David Wilkerson describes perfectly what we now call the COVID-19 pandemic.  How could he have known, and how could this spark a Third Great Awakening? Is it possible God is up to something? 

Wilkerson says to each of us, “You need to hear directly from God, what is God saying to you. God will speak to you and encourage you despite the chaotic world circumstances surrounding you.”

The end times church will understand that each member has a calling from God to make disciples to share their testimony with non believers, to preach the good news of Jesus Christ.

https://youtu.be/cl-9WyAFcYQ

COVID-19 CREATES GLOBAL HUNGER CRISIS

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused at least 110 million children to go hungry and pushed 8 million others into child labor and begging, according to assessments in 24 countries across Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia by evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organization World Vision.

Other international groups like the United Nations and World Food Programme have warned that the economic impact of the new coronavirus is bound to increase child hunger, violence and poverty at alarming levels, and those predictions were confirmed by World Vision’s assessments.

“COVID-19 is already affecting parents and caregivers’ ability to meet the needs of their children,” says the World Vision report, titled “Out of Time: COVID-19 Aftershocks.”

Child Hunger in Africa

“Without urgent action, this will only get worse given that every second child, out of 2 billion children in the world, is living in poverty,” it adds.

The report shows that a third of the 14,000 households in nine countries in Asia have already lost jobs or income since the coronavirus outbreak. “Sixty percent of these families depend on casual (daily) labor as a crucial source of income,” it says, adding that a quarter of all families surveyed did not have any food stocks on hand, and one third had only one week’s supply left.

In Cambodia, 28% of households facing loss of jobs and income were sending children out to work, and in Bangladesh, 34% were sending children to beg, the assessment found.

In urban slums in India, 40% of respondents reported a spike in domestic violence due to travel restrictions and a reduction in family income.

In Africa, 59% of respondents from communities World Visions works with reported spending less on healthy and nutritious food.

In Latin America, refugees are severely affected by the loss of income and one-third of children are going to bed hungry, the report says.

“In Chile, 82 percent of the interviewees report having serious problems obtaining food, and in Venezuela, 70 percent have no access to food, which means that children under age five are at high risk of being malnourished. The report also shows 28 percent of the children surveyed are at risk of eviction from their homes, with seven percent already having been evicted.”

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Matthew 24:7-13

GREAT ADVICE FOR EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES ON MANAGING COVID19

Wez Hone has initiated a great presentation from Mark McCrindle. Mark is an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author, and influential thought leader, and he is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia’s leading organisations.

Christians should understand that God is still on the throne. What does God want to achieve with Covid19, certainly to test Christians on how they will serve their communities.