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Ask a Pastor: Worshiping while Social Distancing

Question:

In this time of “social distancing”, we are no longer able to go to church but have to stay home and watch/listen online. What are the measures I can take when I have to do it by myself under the roof of my parents, for my parents do not attend the same denomination as me and we have conflicting views? I want to be able to sing, to be with those of the same mindset but can’t and I am really struggling with this, especially with the estimated longevity of this whole situation and how long this may have to go on for.


Answer:

We are faced with a great challenge today by not being able to gather together in worship. We realize more than ever that listening to sermons at home is not an ideal replacement for the gathering together of the congregation in worship. I can certainly empathize with your struggle of worshiping alone and we plead with the Lord to have mercy upon us and we long and pray for the day that we can again truly gather together in worship.


First of all, I am taking some hints from your question; such as your parents are Christians but just not of the same denomination. I am also assuming those conflicting views are likely not essential to salvation and their denomination does uphold the Word of God as infallible and inspired. Obviously, I would not give the following advice if your parents were part of another faith like Mormonism or other false religions, or if their denomination preached ‘another gospel’ like the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel or other heresies.


Advice to make the best of your situation with parents who are part of a denomination that does preach the Word of God and your conflicting views are not necessarily essential to salvation:

  1.  First, I would recommend worshiping with your parents. There is something very important about gathering together as much as possible. In Matthew 18:20 Jesus says, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Even if you may have some conflicting convictions you can certainly be blessed together as a family in worship and singing together.

  2. Second, if your worship times are different, ask your parents to worship with you during your service. It might open up some good discussions as well and take away unfounded presumptions about your conflicting views.

  3. Third, we have lots of extra time on Sundays to listen to your own pastor’s sermon later in the day or week, maybe even discuss it and pray with a friend from church.

  4. Fourth, continue in studying God’s Word, being in prayer, and taking opportunities to fellowship with friends from your church via technology.

  5. Finally, I acknowledge that I don’t know your specific situation and it may be impossible to worship with your family. I also don’t know if it is lawful in your area at this time or will be in the future, but you could investigate the possibly of joining another family from your church in their home for worship. To investigate this I would certainly discuss it with your pastor or ward-elder. Actually, it would be your pastor’s or elder’s privilege to walk through this with you and he may know your situation much better than I do and give clearer advice regarding your specific situation.

“Lord, bless our young people during these difficult days of isolation by Word and Spirit and grant humble repentant hearts of faith that depend on our heavenly Father’s protection, trusting in Christ as the only Savior and Lord over all, walking dependently on the Holy Spirit for wisdom, peace, patience, love, and find true joy in the communion of the saints even in times of isolation. Continue to create a holy longing and desire to gather in worship and have mercy upon us and be pleased to bring an end to COVID-19.” Amen.


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