19 Covid Lessons the Church Cannot Ignore: Why "Back to Normal" Is Not an Option
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Unannounced and unexpected, the coronavirus has crippled countries and churches into restrictions of unprecedented scale. The world has changed quickly. How will the Church respond? Will it grasp the opportunity to thrive—or wait for it to be over and "return to normal"?
19 Covid Lessons the Church Cannot Ignore unravels exciting new ways to honor, serve, and bring God glory. Brilliantly written and thought-provoking chapter content includes:
• Realize the Fear Element;
• Rebuild the Home Church;
• Reinvent in the Digital Era;
• Realign Values;
• Reform Church Governance;
• Rewrite the Narrative;
• Rise to the Occasion.
Never before have we had this opportunity to return to basics. Let's embrace this season as a realignment leading into renewal, transformation—and reformation! Let’s not miss this chance.

This book is a genuine collection of the problems besetting contemporary mainstream Western Christianity, accompanied by a creative call to return to a genuine Christ-centered form of life and ministry. Truthfulness and fruitfulness are its marks. This is a sure sign of its true prophetic teaching, the very antithesis of popularity. If you are looking for significant disruption out of a worldly Church and a deeper discipleship walk with the Lord, read it as an act of indispensable submission on the way of the cross.
--Rev. Dr. John Yates, Chairman (Evangelical Alliance Australia)
Dr. Natanael Costea is one of a new breed of Christian leaders who are being raised up by God to prepare the body of Christ for a new wave of the Holy Spirit. He knows who he is in Christ and has the courage to stand up and be counted as a true disciple of Jesus. This book encapsulates the very heart of God and is a wakeup call to the New Testament Church to consider in order to survive these and future dark times. I would encourage people to take the challenges this book makes and to have a major paradigm shift in their thinking as to who we really are in Christ.
--Ps. Malcolm Innes, President (Dayspring Ministries - Apostolic Churches Alliance Board)
In the midst of restriction and disruption flowing from the COVID-19, the Church and particularly church leaders have been confronted with the need to quickly adapt to the changing landscape. Dr. Natanael Costea has provided here a challenging and thought-provoking resource to assist Church leaders to take hold of God's opportune time for RESET. By raising penetrating questions that need prayerful and careful exploration he provides a way to reevaluate how we think about church and do ministry going forward. Be prepared to be challenged and to push deeper!
--Len Rossow, Facilitator (Gold Coast House of Prayer, Queensland, Australia)
Dr. Natanael Costea has written a very timely and much needed book. He writes not only as a strong teacher with clear biblical lessons, he also writes as an experienced coach, providing provoking questions at the end of each chapter, so we are challenged to make changes. And change is needed in these days. Natanael is a tender prophetic voice challenging the Church, you and I, to listen closely to the Lord and to reset, recalibrate, and be part of a much needed reformation in our day.
--Wendy Yapp, Facilitator (Perth Together, Australia)
In the middle of this pandemic engulfing everyone with fear, the question should not be how to return to the old normal life. It should be, as Dr. Natanael Costea writes, what is the Lord teaching us for the season ahead. Read it with your ears tuned in so you hear what the Lord is saying to you, and move in that direction.
--Vali Paul, Senior Pastor (Filadelfia Church, Baia Mare, Romania)
This book will make you think and act hopefully to respond to God's latest wake-up call to a sleeping giant Church. Wake up, Church! Awaken and influence the world by displaying power and authority, and equipping and mobilizing Jesus' disciples. Raise churchgoers from their spectator seats to become participants seeking and saving the lost and encourage disciples in obedience as they GO responding to Jesus' command.
--Ps. Jeff Hocking, Board (Apostolic Churches Alliance)
This book is a one-of-a-kind resource that you must have in your personal library and a treasure to read. It is a true revelation of our current crisis and self-examination of every leader and pastor. Not only does it speak about the contemporary Church but it is a measuring scale, a plumb line, a temperature gauge of our motives and attitudes. This is a pastor's crisis management manual.  Dr. Costea takes a pastor on a journey from where the roots of the Church were to where it is, and it is heading. I would call it an extraordinary book, a must read for every pastor. As I was reading, I found it to be so true and so apt to our times and seasons. It is doctrinally sound, Bible based, and prayerfully written. You will not be able to put the book down once you get started. This book gives you an outlook of your church, your life, and your ministry.
--Dr. Andrew Prakasam, President (Share in Asia - A242 Outlook Church Founding Pastor)
Based on sound scriptural narratives and divine revelation, Dr. Natanael Costea challenges the church not only to navigate a new normal through the COVID-19 season but to return to our first love of Jesus, authentic relationships, and hail Jesus as the Head of the Church. He also reassures us and encourages us that God has a plan for the Church through this time of spiritual warfare and will use it to bring His glory and see more souls saved. With practical questions for application, you will be both challenged and refreshed to go bigger and bolder out of this season.
--Dr. Reg Morais, Senior Pastor (Living Faith Community Church)
The current pandemic has proven a great equalizer in the world as wealth and society position give no safety to anyone. Everyone is afraid. The only solution, as this book highlights, is for everyone to return to God and reestablish the family altar and allow God to reform ministry in the Church. The book reminds us of the work of the Holy Spirit to change us, to comfort us, to teach us, and to strengthen us. Everyone who will read this book will be encouraged in an extraordinary way to rise up to the current challenge and also the opportunity at hand.
--Pdt. Pustikawati Djunaidi, Pastor (Gereja Bethel Indonesia)
This timely book is like an alarm clock in the middle of the night calling us to wake up and turn on the light. It provokes us to reevaluate our ways, our motives and even our methods. We cannot go back to our old ways. As the world around us is rapidly changing, God is also drastically changing the landscape of the Church. Things cannot stay the same. This book will help you transition in the new era that God is bringing, so go for it.
--Cornel Bistrian, Director (Christ for Romania)

From the Author

Throughout the world we are now in our homes in isolation to prevent the spread. This has been the world's largest social isolation and the church has been disrupted in an unparalleled way. This lockdown means the church cannot meet in their buildings, nor as groups, except as households. It was a shockwave that unsettled both leaders and church members, characterized by an evident resistance in closing the church doors. But this had to be done.
I believe we have a choice: to merely survive or to thrive, to give in to this pandemic hype by succumbing to fear or to rise above it in faith, to let it drag us down or to allow God to use it for good. The pause button has been placed on church as usual. The world currently speaks of the "new normal." The church had to adapt to new ways, and it had to do it quickly. It does not feel normal because in our conditioning, it isn't. But what if this stir up is for our good?
Let's not miss this chance! Let's not return to normal! Let's not slide back into the comfortable and predictable! Let's embrace this season as a season of reset, restoration and realignment, which leads us into renewal and into transformation. And it might just lead us into reformation.
Please know that I am a pastor and I write to you as a leader who labors responsibly in God's field. I say this for you to have the confidence that I care deeply as I challenge you in this book. I challenge you because I care. I care for you and I honor you as you serve tirelessly and desire to align more and more with God's will!
As you embark on this journey of discovering the 19 lessons the church cannot ignore from the coronavirus, may I please ask you to pause and reflect on one personal and one church shift you will take on from each lesson? And as you do that, let it be a shift that will be a game changer for your personal life and ministry life, a shift that puts everything else in alignment, a transforming shift to maturity and completion that leaves you without lacking anything (James 1:4).
Dr. Natanael Costea

Dr. Natanael Costea (DMin, MA, BA) is an apostolic leader with a prophetic voice, a pastor, a strategist, a futurist, and an emotional intelligence coach. He is the founding director of Apostolic Churches Alliance and the principal of Australian School of Ministry. He is an ordained pastor and leads Menora Church in Perth, Australia.
His primary passion is for the gospel to be preached powerfully to all nations, making disciples of every nation. He engages in his passion in the marketplace by speaking and writing on emotional intelligence principles that lead to spiritual awakening and clarity.
After a seven-year career in the federal government of Australia and ten years leading a building development company, Dr. Costea established High EQ Australia, a not-for-profit training and coaching practice that supports his ministry.
He is the author of Forty Years and Forty Days, a practical discipleship book he wrote in forty days, starting on his fortieth birthday, and The Most Precious Gift, a book for those seeking a first encounter with God.
Dr. Costea, together with his wife, Raluca, and three young children, Evangeline, Isaac, and Menora, live in Churchlands, Western Australia.
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