We talked to pas­tors from Spain and Italy about their expe­ri­ence, which might be the North Amer­i­can expe­ri­ence in just a few weeks.

Euro­pean coun­tries have become the epi­cen­ter of the coro­n­avirus out­break, with both Italy and Spain sur­pass­ing Chi­na in the num­ber of deaths from COVID-19. While we hope and pray they are final­ly reach­ing their peak in the rate of new cas­es per day, it is still too ear­ly to tell.

Lead­ers around the world are now look­ing to these Euro­pean coun­tries for lessons on how to effec­tive­ly respond to the out­breaks hap­pen­ing in their own coun­tries. And if the rate of new cas­es does not slow down in the Unit­ed States, experts are telling us we are prob­a­bly just a few weeks away from expe­ri­enc­ing much of what is hap­pen­ing right now in Italy and Spain.

This week, the Send Insti­tute host­ed a Zoom call with pas­tors, church planters, and mis­sion­ar­ies in Italy and Spain to show sol­i­dar­i­ty and to glean from them how to pre­pare North Amer­i­can church­es for the next few weeks.

The resound­ing theme from the call was: Get ready.

Fran­cis Arjona, who is the Direc­tor of Euro­pean Chris­t­ian Mis­sion Spain, gave us a sober­ing assess­ment of what is hap­pen­ing right now, “To my friends in North Amer­i­ca, the whole sys­tem here is col­laps­ing. The hos­pi­tals have col­lapsed. The food sup­ply has col­lapsed. They are over­whelmed and inun­dat­ed.”

And while the sit­u­a­tion in North Amer­i­ca is still ear­ly and maybe (we hope) not yet as dire, we should pre­pare our­selves and heed the words our fel­low Chris­tians in Europe have for us.

Pas­tors Should Take Social Dis­tance Seri­ous­ly

Ron Ander­son, Lau­sanne Cat­a­lyst for Church Plant­i­ng in Europe, has been a mis­sion­ary to Europe since 1978. He lives in Madrid which is con­sid­ered ground zero for the virus in Spain. Ron works with pas­tors and lead­ers all over Europe and is see­ing the detri­men­tal effects of pas­tors not tak­ing …

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