The first Sunday in the new year was a disappointment.
The world is in trouble with the announcement of two new strains of COVID-19 in the last week. One of these may emerge as COVID-21 if it doesn’t respond to a vaccine. Meanwhile the church seems asleep on mission.
I spent most of Sunday listening to online sermons from significant leaders, people I trust and respect. Two themes emerged. The first was that 2021 will be better than 2020. The second emphasized our right to hold indoor meetings in spite of what we hear from government or science.
Both strains seemed to long for the good old days of a year ago. But preachers I heard neglect the good old days of AD 30-300? Or the heroics of the church in the face of the Black Death. Will our “new norm” be a time to rest in Jesus or should we think of evangelism wrapped in a cloak of love and service to others? Is anyone talking about sending missionaries overseas, let alone missionaries into the marketplace or to the homeless?
I get the need to comfort people in crisis. But to wind down to comfort without challenge seems a waste of a good hour of communication.
Embracing New Realities
The world has gone digital or at least hybrid/digital where people live, work, shop and play both online and in person. The new normal is a hybrid. But we’ll never find it if we long for the comforts of church buildings as fortresses against the world.
Add in the growing hostility toward Christianity and we need to find new ways to communicate the gospel (friendship evangelism comes to mind).
The church initially resisted the printing press as it did motion pictures and television (my pastor called it the “devil box” in the 1950s). Now we resist changes brought by the new necessity. We must get back on mission, see opportunity in any great upheaval and be about our Father’s business. Anything less threatens our survival.
Our job isn’t to get back into a building, etc. Form follows function. The function of the church is to make disciples, teaching them to obey Jesus. Let’s look for opportunities to influence the surrounding culture rather than hide from it or attack it for restraining our freedoms.
The challenge to leaders is to find our place in this scary new world NOT seek to replicate the past or cheer the immobile.
The four-minute video goes a little deeper CLICK HERE to watch it.