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Pastor Tan Seow How (Pastor How)   pastorhow instagram
Pastor Cecilia Chan (Pastor Lia)   pastorlia instagram
Heart of God Church (Singapore)   pastorlia instagram
Stay connected
Pastor Tan Seow How (Pastor How)
pastorhow instagram
Pastor Cecilia Chan (Pastor Lia)
pastorlia instagram
Heart of God Church (Singapore)
hogc instagram

Length: 3-minute read

Start building for your post-pandemic church/business. Don’t let the disruption become a distraction.

When the pandemic is in our rearview mirror, what will your church/business look like?
Back to normal?
I hope not.
I hope that it will be stronger, leaner, healthier and bigger.
Most of your 2020 events may be cancelled but most of your 2020 goals should remain on track.

So don’t be distracted by the disruption.
(Clause: Of course, if your church is directly affected and your members are sick or jobless, then you need to respond to the crisis. But if your church is relatively unscathed, then stay on course. When God gave you that 2020 vision, He already knew about the pandemic.)

I am not into politics but I learned something reading newspapers.
An important long-term geopolitical effect of the September 11 attacks was that it distracted America from China’s rise. 
America, distracted by the global war on terror, either did not notice or could not respond to China. This resulted in the rise of Beijing’s global influence, especially in Third World nations.

Viruses are like terrorists… wanting to change our lives as we know it… curtailing our freedoms and imposing inconveniences.
A small group of terrorists but making a lot of noise and hogging the news cycle.
Similarly, if the church allows our goals and progress to be hijacked by the virus, then the devil has won.
As much as we don’t allow terrorism and fear to take away our way of life, the church must not allow this virus to divert us from our goals.

So Pastors, can I be brutally honest? (If your answer is No, stop reading here.)
While it is important to feed your sheep online or on social media with daily devotions, prayers, bible studies and encouragements, you don’t have to become a talk show host, TV master chef, fitness instructor or vlogger.
One or two Instagram Stories/Live of Pastors cooking or exercising is fine but not every day.
Don’t feel under pressure to put something online daily. 
Don’t confuse engagement with entertainment.
Don’t be distracted.
Remember—the most impactful things in the world are more felt than seen or heard.

Spend your time at home texting as many leaders as possible. 
Paul wrote epistles, we can write emails. I have written so many emails to disciple, encourage and speak life.
Create discipleship chat groups on Telegram or Zoom.
I have been sending voice notes to our healthcare professionals, church builders and other groups.
Pastor Lia has been ordering little gifts/food online to bless and encourage people.
Even my daughter ordered boba tea to be delivered to her group.

There is an overwhelming flood of content and stuff online already. Your church members don’t need another Instagram Live to watch you fry an egg. They need their pastor back.

Start and continue to build your post-pandemic church. I am determined not to miss a step.
We shifted our BMT (Basic Ministry Training for new volunteers) to a training portal.
So when church resumes, we are going to have a new batch of reinforcements.
Faith Essentials Bible Study is also on the training portal.
Discipleships are on Zoom now.
Leaders’ training continues on Zoom.
Follow Up Bible Study Lessons for new believers continues online.

We are busier than ever during this Stay Home time.
Hustle while they hibernate.
Progress while they pause.

Position your church for post-pandemic now.
Look… it’s aptly named COVID-19, because it should stay in the past. Let’s start building CHURCH-21.


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9 Comments

  1. Faith K says:

    My mindset is constantly lifted with every single article in this series, especially in this season where secular articles are facts-driven and most of time, fear-inducing. This is a breath of fresh air.

    It gives me goosebumps whenever I think of how much foresight my Pastors have for the church as a whole but also, for our individual lives. They prepare us for the NEXT season, what’s coming up… so practically it buys us more time to tweak our response accordingly and have progress even in the pause. To not just be able to survive, but thrive.

    I learnt that every opportunity right now is time-sensitive and am inspired by how much heavily lifting my Pastors and the team are doing in the background. I am feeling the reverberation of “Remember—the most impactful things in the world are more felt than seen or heard.” So true.

    Hitting the pause or hibernate button is definitely not an option. In the past, undeniably, I might end up being a lost sheep without one month of physical services. But looking back, throughout this stay home season, our Pastors have more than equipped us to build a strong walk with God and at the same time, stay connected with one another. The amount of thought, planning and man-hours put into Sermon Podcasts, Worship Playlist, Bible Reading Plan, Faith Essentials (part of the Christian Education track), Basic Ministry Training, Training Portal is insane! I am personally energised to run further and harder because my Pastors always focus on the important, not the impressive.

  2. ERNEST CHEN says:

    Thank you for sharing this Pastor How 🙂 I’m very encouraged because in these weeks I’ve been questioning what real impact we make if we aren’t frontline medical staff, what capacity to do good we have if our instagram posts find little traction. But you’re right. We’re the church. We’ll always be relevant, and we do that by staying who we are and building stronger first on the inside and let it be felt on the outside. The community efforts, the financial help given to our members, people and their families coming to know God in their own homes, these come from what we’ve been building for years. I shall focus on the important now, not the impressive.

  3. Rena Chin says:

    Absolutely love this article!! Pastor How and Pastor Lia truly seize opportunities in crises – they are seizing opportunities to help us grow and lead, opportunities for us to be trained and opportunities to bless others!

    While so many corporate firms are cutting back on their activities and expenditure in fear, I am so inspired that Pastors are living out faith, because they are training and empowering us to lead in church and grow in our ministry skills! In fact, I have personally been for more online ministry trainings this season and I’ve seen how so many people have been personally blessed by our church financially during this economic downturn. This season, we are even being equipped with a Christian Education course that our church has just rolled out (but all these took years in the planning and making).

    I love how we are not just sitting back and waiting but we really are hustling and progressing even from home! And in every area – leadership, Christian character, ministry, relationships.

  4. John Tan says:

    I love this article. It calls out what every leader, businessman and pastor is struggling/facing right now. When Pastor How and Pastor Lia, faced with this crisis, stepped up as Leaders to frame and direct the mind frame of the Church, the Church grew and saw a record breaking number of salvations and people engaged in the Word of God. Pastors were even more “present” in our (virtual) lives. Encouraging voice messages, discipleship group chats came alive more than ever. Even when Singapore goes back to “normal”, HOGC is never going back to normal again. We have grown as a Church!

  5. Melvin Tay says:

    Wow! I really, really love this article (actually THE WHOLE SERIES!). It is literally life-changing and mindset shifting. We are now mid-way through the current circuit breaker and personally I can’t wait for it to end so that we can gradually resume life as it was before the global pandemic. But I am now looking at the remaining weeks of circuit breaker with a whole new perspective! We don’t have to wait till the end of the circuit breaker, or even till the pandemic dies down – right now is our window of opportunity to make permanent changes for the future. Personally, my family runs a business in the food industry. Even before the circuit breaker, we were worried that business will be affected because many retail and F&B stores were asked to close or minimise operations. However, as one door closed, a big door opened and our family business is now striving and I believe that this big door will remain opened even after the pandemic has died down. Truly, “Don’t let the disruption become a distraction”. Thank you Pastor How for this whole series! Not only are they packed with wisdom and insights, they are written with the reader in mind which makes it so easy to read and digest. Love it! A must-read!

  6. Michelle Kwek says:

    There are so many truths in this article!! Personally, when the virus hit, I was disappointed that many events that we were looking forward to would have to be cancelled. But looking back, I feel that we have never been more connected to each other as a church. I’ve been so encouraged by the voice notes shared by Pastors to all of us members regularly, the sharings in the Discipleship Groups… and so ministered by the Faith Essentials sermons on our Training Portal.

    And as a working professional in the aviation industry, I feel it’s so true for my career as well. Its the time of the lowest business in the industry… but its so true that this is not the time to take a step back and wait passively for things to resume operations, but to plan for what will happen in the post pandemic situation! These principles by Ps How are truly gold and representative of how Ps How and Ps Lia have been leading the church with such foresight through this crisis!!

  7. Josh Tay says:

    This is such a great read Pastor How! Straight to the point and such a timely reminder for us! Today was suppose to be the end of our circuit breaker but with the extension we have 4 more weeks to go. Going against the mindset of “waiting it out” requires much focus and these articles have helped me to press on!

    Personally in my family business, this year we set a goal for a digital transformation and this Pandemic accelerated our first phase. Now we are into 2nd phase faster than we had planned.
    Thank you Ps How for the articles and spurring us on to not be distracted and keeping on track on our 2020 goals.

  8. Mae-Ann Sahai says:

    Love this article. ‘Progress while they pause’, ‘Don’t let the disruption become a distraction’. It is common for many to wish for life to go back to normal once the circuit breaker is lifted. However, I feel that this mindset will cause us to view whatever we do right now as mere stop-gap measures. Pastor How looks at this whole crisis from very different lens. These articles and the way he and Pastor Lia have been leading us through this crisis has really given my husband and I much needed direction for the way we run our tuition business. Because of these principles that Pastor How has shared, we have been able to look at the suspension of tuition on-site classes as an opportunity. We could work to turn things around instead of bemoaning what had happened. Some of the staff worked on producing interactive videos to make online learning effective, some worked on providing more touch points with parents so that even without physical centres, parents felt they could reach us more easily. The materials team worked on tweaking and editing the materials to make them more bite-size for online learning. As a result of some of these measures, we have seen a greater number of sign ups in the recent weeks. There are more students signing up now than when we had on-site classes at physical centres. Instead of limitations, we can see possibilities. These articles and the principles shared in them have been life-changing and illuminating to us. They are a must-read.

  9. Mae-Ann Sahai says:

    Love this article. ‘Progress while they pause’, ‘Don’t let disruption become a distraction’. It is a common mindset to have that says let’s wait for life to get back to how it once was after the circuit breaker is lifted. I feel that it makes us view whatever we do at work or business as a stop-gap measure. However, Pastor How sees things from a very different lens. The principles that Pastor How has shared and the way he and Pastor Lia have been leading us through in this crisis has very much energised my husband and I and given us much needed direction for how to run the business in such a time. It gives us a vision of how to bring things forward rather than wait passively for things to happen. These principles are priceless to us.

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