The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church that one of the marks which should characterise gospel workers is patience. This is one of many virtues he lists so that, ‘in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God’ (2 Corinthians 6:4a). He desired that no avoidable offence could bring a cloud over their gospel endeavours. ‘We give no offence in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed’ (2 Corinthians 6:3). How vital it is therefore, to ensure that in days of much scrutiny our conduct does not bring our witness into disrepute. Patience should be the hallmark of the believer as we watch and pray for the Lord to enable a return to open-air work.
Throughout this Coronavirus situation, we have sought to ensure that we have a proportionate response to facilitate open-air evangelism, whilst preserving our testimony before a watching world. We committed to reviewing our measures each month and another such review took place yesterday. With ‘stay at home’ orders remaining in force in all four regions of the United Kingdom, it was good to erect ‘milestones’ so that when these are reached we can return our workers to the streets.
In real-terms, the level of restrictions has to be relaxed sufficiently so as to annul the ‘stay at home’ orders. With respect to the ‘lockdowns’ of 2020 this was the reopening of non-essential retail outlets. We will continue to monitor the situation so that as soon as it is safe and legal to do so, our Staff Evangelists and Associate workers will able to resume their regular open-airs. May these ‘milestones’ be replaced by ‘Ebenezers’, ‘Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us”.’ (1 Samuel 7:12).
In the meantime, please pray that we would soon see restrictions ease in all parts of our nation and may a godly patience characterise us, which is fitting for ministers of God in this world. Praise God for the opportunities that there are, even in such times, and may the Lord be glorified in the saving of precious souls.
9th February 2021