Navigating the Church in the New Normal
The jury has deliberated and the verdict is in. Life will never be the same. Church life will never be the same.
The Covid-19 virus has changed the way the world will function. How much it will change and how it will change we don’t know.
The changing church
Change is hard for many people. They like routine, order and a comfortable way of living. If change is going to happen they prefer it slow and gradual.
With the coronavirus pandemic, we barely had time to blink. Within a matter of a week, life, as we know it in the West, came to a grinding halt. We couldn’t meet in groups. We were told to stay home. For some of us, it was a massive change. For others, it was life as normal.
The challenged church
For the first time in decades, the church has come to a major crisis. How do we continue to function as the church with all of these restrictions? How will we connect? Will we fall apart?
It has been so encouraging to see many churches rise up and face this challenge. We all know the church is not a building. Now we have been forced to live like it. We have been thrown out of our comfortable routine.
In many ways, this is exactly what the church needed. We needed a crisis to get our attention. We needed a reminder that Christ is coming soon and the end is near.
The church without a building
What a concept! Remind you of anything? It reminds me of the church in the book of Acts. No buildings. No gymnasiums. No kids programs. No organized gospel campaigns. No ____________ etc. etc.
And yet, without any of that, the church was powerful. It was alive. It was fit and trim. It changed the world and culture. It led thousands to the Lord Jesus.
Is it possible that God wants us to get back to that? To get back to a simple church life?
What would that look like?
What would it look like if we were to emulate the church in Acts? Here are some thoughts.
- Prayer would be much more fluid. I believe we have formalized prayer into a meeting that was never intended by God. Prayer is the oil that keeps everything working smoothly. It should be a part of everything we do. Acts 4:24, “… all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God …” Getting back to “prayer in everything” would change us and the world around us.
- Evangelism would be organic. What a brilliant idea! Acts 8:4, “But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.” Instead of organizing our evangelism, how about we just make it a priority that every person in the church becomes a personal witness of the Lord?
- Fellowship would be natural. The church in Acts considered each other brothers and sisters. So they acted like a family. Families get together often. They eat together. They laugh together. They cry together. They support each other. They do these things all the time. Acts 2:46, “And day by day … they received their food with glad and generous hearts.”
- Financial support would be automatic. When the church is in need the body of Christ step up. Or at least they should. The believers in the early church counted it an honour to help their fellow believers. We should do the same. Acts 4:34-35, “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”
What happens when we get back to our old way?
In the coming months, we will be released from our physical distancing restrictions. We will get back to meeting in buildings and going about our “usual” activities.
I wonder though if we can learn some valuable lessons from this unique time in our history. Can we evaluate our old way of doing things and see if there is any change needed?
Can we be better? Can we make more of an impact on our world around us? I think we can. Maybe this virus is what we needed to wake us up to the reality of our purpose as a church. Let’s not waste it.