Christian author, speaker and missionary Francis Chan has said that God will use the current coronavirus crisis to “prune the Church and cut off branches that aren't bearing fruit."
Speaking at the recent "Q Conference," the Crazy Love author added that the pandemic should serve as an opportunity for churches to become increasingly innovative and missional in their outlook.
“I hear a lot of talk of people being concerned about whether their church is going to survive,” Chan said via livestream. “The illustration I think of is: if I had a diamond right here and I just smash it with a hammer, what would happen to that diamond? Nothing if it's a real diamond. If it shatters, it wasn't real.
Referencing Matthew 16:17-19, Chan went on to implore that, even during a time of global calamity, even "the gates of Hell can't stand against" the church.
He continued: "No virus, no government, no economic this or that, life, death, nothing. And so we as believers are supposed to trust the words of Jesus and go, ‘The Church is going to be fine. If anything, this is the time where God is going to prune the Church and cut off branches that aren't bearing fruit, but it's only going to become more fruitful.
"And so with that type of confidence, we have to move forward and go, what's the worst thing that happened to me? I die and receive the award I’ve been ... longing for my whole life. We can be fearless.”
But with churches shut and no clear end in sight regarding the current lockdown measures, many pastors are concerned as to whether their churches will survive; indeed, according to a new study from Barna, some six to nine percent of pastors are unsure about whether their ministry will pull through the pandemic.
Chan, however, urged all those doing God's work to dispel fear by taking heart and trusting in Him who has promised to sustain His church.
"God knew you and I were going to be alive at this time," Francis declared. "We were literally made for this, prepared for this.”