OUR Church Is Now a New Church .
As every aspect of our daily lives is being reconsidered and refashioned by the pandemic, as a church we are rethinking our futures.
But I’m afraid some are anticipating the days ahead only with a vision of the years behind. And I’m convinced this just won’t work.
We have no control of what the situation will be one month or six months or one year from now. Admittedly, that’s exhausting. One reason so many are so tired is the exhaustion of uncertainty. As I write this, for example, we’re waiting to hear what THE Gov. will announce in his press conference . Many of our plans for the next six weeks will potentially need to change because of whatever shutdown/slowdown he may order. We’re tired just thinking about it.
Many pastors are talking seriously about taking early retirement because they’re worn out from trying to cope with a world where church leadership is different than anything we’ve known. I’m guessing many people are likewise tired. We hope to be energized by the challenge to create something new, because here’s a fact: Local congregations and church leaders who survive will not do so by trying to re-create the structures and programming of 2019. We don’t know what the new world will look like, but we can be sure of this: The past World is gone forever. We will never go back to the way it once was.
Instead of seeing our congregation as an established church,, with programming and staffing and buildings whose purpose and function have been decided, let’s reconsider everything. Let’s view our ministry in 2021 the way we would approach a new church plant in our community. “We now have 100 percent of who we have.” Those who have stuck with the church through this difficult time will be the ones to meet the needs and lift up the name of Jesus in the future. We can’t recoup what the church was. We must grow our church into what it can become.
“We need to stop being upset about ground [that we’ve] lost and understand we have the opportunity to dream new dreams and take new land.” Instead of seeing this time as defeat, I believe it reflects new opportunities to serve the present reality.
Let’s grappling with questions like these: “What’s really important? Who do we want to reach? What must we do to reach them?” We’re not talking about “We’re coming back.” We’re asking, “What’s next?”
Every church—at least every church that will survive through the coming decade—is now a church plant. What was has died. We need to mourn it and move on. The possibilities ahead are many for those who will lift their eyes to see them.
Keep pressing on!
The example of the apostle Paul should inspire us older Christians to make the most of life’s final chapter. Paul wrote the book of the Philippians when he was prisoner in Rome around A.D. 62. His circumstances could easily have discourage him. He was aging. He was imprisoned. His future was uncertain.
Paul had many reasons to put his life in neutral and coast toward the finish line. Yet he wrote, “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forget what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christi Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
Powerful Reminders from Passionate Events
- Mark 14:1-26 comprises less than a third of the chapter, but it is filled with a whirlwind of passionate emotions and events.
We see envy, fear, anger, deception, malice, hatred, and evil plots:
“The chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill Him” (v. 1).
- We see gratitude, love, a sacrificial offering, some misunderstanding, an explanation, and a gospel message for the ages:
The Prayer Link" there are seven key points on how to pray:
Pray Psalm 91 over your families and nation.
Pray against fear and remind ourselves that God has not given us a spirit of fear.
Pray for wisdom for our leaders to contain the spread of the virus while protecting their people effectively.
Pray for courage for believers to share Jesus effectively through this time of crisis.
Pray for a worldwide move of God.
Make a decree that the coronavirus will cease worldwide, and that God will heal all who are currently affected by it.
Re-consecrate yourselves, your families, and your nation to God through the taking of communion.
Pastor Paul Leavens - Minister Lindsay Christian Church
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