Who does God want us to be as we prepare to do his Kingdom work in this next chapter?

So, I am back after a break this summer. And the questions that were lingering around before summer are still the questions we are facing after summer.
And we will have lots of time to talk about what is working and what isn’t in churches. What programs or initiatives are resonating with people? How are churches dealing with the volunteer shortage? How are churches connecting with and integrating the on-line folks into community and into disciple making processes? Those questions and more are still out there and still being worked on by all kinds of leaders, pastors, boards and churches. And we will keep talking about them.
But here is the thing I think we need to pay attention to. And if I have been in your church lately you have heard me say it (sorry for the repeat). And if I haven’t you will hear it in some form or another (spoiler alert).
Yes, we need to figure out what our churches will need to be and do as we prepare to minister in this next chapter. But I also believe that as the church (the people of God – so you and me) we need to be paying attention to the kind of people we have been called and created to be. Who does God want us to be as we prepare to do his Kingdom work in this next chapter?
That matters a whole bunch. Because, let’s be honest, the church (the people of God – you and me) did not always shine brightly during the Covid era. You know the stories. You saw the headlines. And I don’t want to start any more debates here. Just to say that over the last couple of years, people have stormed out of churches, relationships have been broken, faith and love have been questioned and arguments have left battered and broken people, relationship and in some cases faith in their wake.
That is not supposed to be how it is. We are meant to be community, family together. And yes, there is room for diversity of opinion. But how we do that matters. So, let’s make sure moving forward that we are:
1) More concerned with making disciples than winning arguments or political debates.
2) That we love and serve folks who think or vote different than we do. Inside and outside the church.
3) That we pray more for unity then for getting our way. And that we work more for unity under God then we work for getting our way.
4) That we know and live out the “one another’s” of Scripture. Not that we worry whether anyone else is living them out. That we live them out.
5) That our words and actions to all people are healing and restorative (even when we disagree with each other and especially when we are confronting one another.)
That’s just the starter kit. But we need to pay attention to this stuff. If we don’t, it really won’t matter what programs we run, initiatives we start or ideas we try. And again, we worry about us and how we are living this out, not them. The good news is our Heavenly Father wants this stuff too and will help us as we work towards it.
Marc McAlister
Director of Leadership Development and Church Health, the Free Methodist Church in Canada.