Let me start with a quote. It’s from five to ten years ago. I am not sure who originally said it. Ready?
“I will never watch church on a screen.”
Remember that? Yet here we are, and most of you have probably watched church on a screen. Now to be fair, we had to, and we may not have chosen it on our own. Some of you probably still don’t like it and can’t wait for this season to be over, but some of you liked it more than you thought. Some of you wonder if you ever have to give it up. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, you did it. We did it. God still spoke and His people still worshipped.
I am not bringing any of this up to have a see-I-told-you-so-moment, but just point out that we did a thing.
I know that lots of people out there are guessing at what’s next for the church. I have been one of them. There are lots of, “The Church must…” or “You won’t survive if…” or “Everyone Must…” type opinions around, and while we can all agree that we probably aren’t going back to what was, it is a little tough to know what will be for the church. I used the word “guessing” for a reason. Some of what we hear might be right but some won’t be. I do know that all the opinions and thoughts that everyone has can leave us a little unsettled. It can all be very overwhelming. Will we really have to do that? Can we really do that? Will we be ok? Those are the types of questions we are left with.
So let me see if I can help put your mind at ease. Will we be okay? I think so. Provided we are willing to keep following God’s leading. Provided we are willing to let go of our preferences and do whatever it takes to build His Kingdom. Provided we are willing to let go of the past and step into making sure we are doing all we can to make disciples and take responsibility for our neighbourhoods.
Will it always be easy? Probably not. Will we have to try new things? For sure. Will it look the same as we have been used to? Nope. Will we try things that don’t work? Likely, but all of that’s ok. We can do this. Your church can do this.
How can I say that? How do I know we can pivot (pandemic buzzword) and step into uncharted territory? How do I know we are up for this challenge? Because we have done it. Remember I told you to hang onto the idea that we did a thing (worshipped via screen). No reason we can’t do it again and again. As much as necessary to fulfill the calling our Heavenly Father has on each one of us (His church).
Remember, there is help. It’s still God’s church. He hasn’t gone anywhere, so we keep following Him and relying on Him. Beyond that there are Regional Coaches, tools, training, and Networks for your pastor (where they can receive encouragement), and a host of other things at your disposal. So I am not sure who needed to hear this, and I don’t know what all is coming down the road. I do know we will need to continue to change and adjust, but, we can do this. We can be the church our neighbors need. We can be the church that God can use. We can do this.
Director of Leadership Development and Church Health
Free Methodist Church in Canada