Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
Tony Evans, the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, lost his wife in December to cancer and now, because of the coronavirus pandemic, he's unable to be with his 10,000-member congregation.
The Christian author, radio host, and father of Priscilla Shirer, a Bible teacher and actress, believes the outbreak is a chance for a "divine reset."
He also said he believes this is one of three scenarios for prophecy.
Evans described how his daily routine has changed to Fox News.
How has your daily routine changed since social distancing measures began?
We've gone to church online, sending our message every Sunday to the congregation. We're ministering to the elderly and sick, we gave 1,000 food baskets out on Monday after Easter. At this time, we need to demonstrate that the church can still minister and function. We view this as an open door to demonstrate to the community the love and care of God in the midst of the crisis. People are afraid, insecure, fearful ... people are losing jobs, and businesses are in trouble, which opens the door for the church in practical ways to demonstrate God's love, but also to draw people into a new and deeper relationship with God.
I've changed my messages each week to deal with a divine disruption. Because I believe God allowed this for a divine reset. We've been so much divided, so far departed from him, that he allows things to disrupt us and set our priorities right: him, family, and righteousness and justice in society. As well as getting the church out of the four walls.
We've encouraged all of our members to reach out with acts of kindness cards, whether that is buying a meal or writing an encouragement in a safe and responsible way.
Get people who are not connected, connected so nobody is feeling alone during this time. Use this time to bond deeper with God and deeper with each other. Get God to intervene in a problem. We need God to intervene in this problem.
This is really a spiritual opportunity. That we're communicating to our church, community and our country.
What are the biggest challenges as a pastor during this crisis?
Because I've gone through a lot of loss, my wife, and father just before that, this is a time for resetting myself spiritually while I'm also ministering. It's been a challenge but it's also been an opportunity for me to reset my priorities with God. It's been a reset for me as well being quarantined.
What do you miss the most about how you did your job before this began?
I miss gathering with the people. The corporate gathering is a powerful thing, but it's the wisest thing to do. Love your neighbor means not to put your neighbor in a compromising situation.
What surprised you most about how life has changed?
The happy surprise is a lot of divisions that were dividing us no longer matter now because this is bigger. If we could do with God what we have done with the virus -- center on him -- our lives and our families and our churches and our culture would be a much better place.
How do you blow off steam or what is something you're doing for fun?
Spending time with my kids, grandkids, and reading -- reading a lot about God's intervention in history and how God has intervened in the affairs of men to get our attention. With family, I've been answering their questions because they have a lot of questions about everything going on.
Is there anything you'd like to add as a pastor during this crisis?
As far as prophecy goes, one of three things is happening.
1. God has allowed this to reset the culture and the world, and give us another opportunity to come back to him.
2. We are at the end times and Christ is soon to return, and this shows how quickly God can bring us to our knees.
3. To wake up the church and show our failure as a major problem. We need to wake up to be salt and light to the world.