Fruit in the unfruitful season: A case study of the Indonesian Bethel Church's response to the COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is similar to the Spanish flu that occurred 100 years ago. Various media and research institutes have reported different church-related responses regarding the pandemic, especially in church growth. The pandemic has become a threat associated with fea...

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Published in: Verbum et ecclesia Vol. 42; no. 1; pp. e1 - e8
Main Authors: Widjaja, Fransiskus I, Abraham, Rubin A, Simanjuntak, Fredy, Boiliu, Noh I, Harefa, Otieli
Format: Journal Article
Language: English
Afrikaans
Published: African Online Scientific Information Systems (Pty) Ltd t/a AOSIS 01-01-2021
AOSIS
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Summary: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is similar to the Spanish flu that occurred 100 years ago. Various media and research institutes have reported different church-related responses regarding the pandemic, especially in church growth. The pandemic has become a threat associated with fear, stress and frustration and causes significant health and economic crises. Its impact was inevitable on churches, with a substantial decrease in the level of worshippers. This research aims to assess the impact of and the church's responses to the pandemic phenomena in Indonesia. It is a qualitative research with data descriptively analysed. Drawing on the Indonesian Bethel Church (GBI) case, the results showed that the Indonesian church has historically experienced various challenges and crises and considers the pandemic an opportunity for the church to show its natural character and use this as a moment of spiritual awakening. It is evident that the GBI considers the pandemic a spiritual-awakening momentum. In these challenging times, the GBI experienced an addition of 659 local churches (250 inaugurated and 409 pioneering posts) in response to the Great Commission's fulfilment. Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications This research helps readers determine how the mission report acts as an understanding source of the church ecumenism in response to completing the 'Great Commission' of the Lord Jesus beyond the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic phenomenon.
ISSN: 1609-9982
2074-7705
DOI: 10.4102/ve.v42i1.2247