While the pandemic didn’t break anything, it certainly revealed what was already broken. While we had our suspicions that some things weren’t working as reported, now we know.
As I’ve mentioned before, while our church was shut down, I got phone calls about the following: when could we have worship services again? When could we meet with our small group again? When could we do funerals and weddings again? Other than that, the congregation didn’t seem to miss much else.
So, what have we learned from this?
Community is important.
I know I can’t promise this, but I will be very reluctant to ever close our services again. I don’t think we realized how many people live from Sunday to Sunday. They endure all kinds of challenges throughout their week knowing that, if they can get to Sunday, they can hear some great music and be encouraged by their friends.
I’m not sure I fully understood how much pressure some of our friends felt during the solitude of the quarantine. Belonging matters. Being missed matters. Community is important and we will have a new level of emphasis moving forward.
A Kingdom Framework
Second, we need to learn how to operate within a Kingdom framework. As if enduring the pandemic wasn’t enough, we also had to endure an election. The campaign between Trump and Biden was especially divisive and combative. A lot of our people were caught up in the conspiracy theories and propaganda being put out by both parties.
During times like this, we have to be able to spiritually discern the times through the wisdom of God’s Spirit. Our Scripture study must inform our thinking as we try to understand our times. A lot of what Christians posted on various social media platforms was, at the very least, rude and, in some cases, idolatrous. As a church, we need to do a much better job in our discipleship to make sure our people have a Kingdom worldview when dealing with secular situations. You can expect this to be an ongoing emphasis.
Third, we need a contingency plan to keep doing church when everything shuts down. This won’t be the last time we face a pandemic or a weather event Sooner or later, something else is going to break. What happens when it does? What if we have another pandemic? (And we will). What happens when it snows and we’re stuck at home for a week or two? How will we worship? How will we communicate with you?
This means you and your family need to have a contingency plan that allows you to gather with community, learn more about Jesus and take care of each other. What happens in your family when we face the next challenge? How will you worship? How will you disciple your families? Who will you check on? Who will check on you?
I wish we could say this thing is over and we’ll never face anything like this again. We all know better. What we have learned this time should ensure that we will thrive the next time it happens.