Famed evangelist Josh McDowell is worried about the impact COVID-19 is having on an already beleaguered population, warning that the pandemic wiIl likely worsen a variety of social issues, including pornography addiction, loneliness, and depression.
"The lockdown ... it feeds into pornography, loneliness, depression and mental health," McDowell recently told "The Pure Flix Podcast," noting that stress, isolation and fear of the unknown are all issues that are increasingly intensifying amid the COVID-19 crisis.
And the evangelist, who has spent decades exploring cultural issues and ministering to the masses, added that he believes these issues will be more pronounced once the lockdowns end.
Listen to McDowell's warnings and solutions on "The Pure Flix Podcast":
"These things are not under the radar. It's just that [the] church is not looking at the radar," McDowell said. "When we come out of this COVID — and we will — you're going to see a greater in-depth problem with loneliness, depression, anxiety and pornography."
McDowell also discussed young people in Generation Z and the already increasing mental health and loneliness concerns that were observed among this population prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Among his concerns are the ways in which young people are choosing to communicate with one another. While McDowell said people were designed to relate to one another in interpersonal relationships, technology has transformed the realities of how we interact.
"This generation has learned to communicate with their thumbs, not their tongues," McDowell said. "They might be connecting with people on the internet, but they're not relating to people on the internet."
The evangelist is on a mission to help pastors, Christians and churches meet these needs, though, with his ministry rolling out free resources to help combat loneliness,depression, and other pervasive cultural issues.
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"We need to figure out how do we minister to people like that and it doesn't come easy," he said. "The church had better address these things or the church will be marginalized — period. If we don't address loneliness, depression, anxiety, mental health and relationships we will be obsolete."
McDowell knows how hard pastors work and how much is on the plates of various church staffers, but he's hoping these resources will help ease some of these burdens while also providing healing. Visit Josh McDowell Ministry for resources and more information on how you can help.