There are a lot of questions and speculations right now, and no one knows for sure. One of the biggest questions I hear is when will it be wise to meet in the building again? The answer to that question is different for every church, and somewhat depends on where you live. I hear some people are ready to go back in the building, and others are saying not yet. Some are having multiple live worship services and others are still gathering virtually online.
As much as this is a challenge, I also believe it is an opportunity for us. This is a time where we need to be asking questions. Here are some of the questions that I’m asking:
• What is God showing me in this season?
For me the shift from being on the road a lot to staying at home provided me a chance to create some new rhythms. I still had plenty to do, but the way I’ve been spending my day is different. In the beginning of this season I asked God to show me what I needed to learn from this crisis. He’s shown me several things that will shape the way I do things going forward.
• Where is God at work around me?
Early on in my walk as a believer I studied a book called Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Claude King. This study was influential in my life, and it taught me to always be watching to see where God is at work. During this season there are several ways I’ve seen God working, the most visible has been when churches have partnered with various organizations to distribute food to people in need. There have been other times where someone had a specific need and the body of Christ worked together to meet that need. Communities have seen a practical picture of what it means to love your neighbor.
• When we get back in the building, does anything need to change?
The answer to this question is yes and no, and here is why I say that. Like it or not, the church has had to do things differently over the past months. Our Sunday morning worship has gone online, our ministries in the building have been put on hold. In many cases the pastors and church leaders have needed to make weekly phone calls to stay in touch with the people in their church. This disruption has given us an opportunity to “reset” and think about what we should be doing as a church in the future. As we do that it is important to remember that our activities should be focused on fulfilling the mission, not maintaining a ministry. If what we were doing in the past was not contributing to fulfilling the mission of the church (Matthew 28:16-20) then we should decide if it’s something we should be doing in the future.
I’ll leave you with these thoughts. If there is one thing good that came out of this season, it is that it forced us to get out in the community. Overall as a Network we have seen a lot more missional activity, and this is a good thing. As you think about the future, remember that the mission hasn’t changed. We have been commissioned by Christ to go and make disciples. How are you going to do that in the days ahead?