Covid has changed everything. If all restrictions lifted tomorrow, is it your hope for things to go back to the way they were? I don’t believe that is possible. People have changed. After months of instability and fear, we are less trusting and more cautious. Historically, the Church has grown in times of major crisis but we have yet to witness significant revival in 2020. Churches who have opened their doors are experiencing a fraction of the attendance that they had before Covid. The Church is at a crossroads where we can choose to fight for the way things were or we can put our efforts into blazing a new trail. It is time for the church to move forward.
What if things stay the way they are for the next three to four years?
I have asked this question to those I am coaching as an exercise. The hypothetical pulls us out of the day-to-day mire of our current reality and challenges us to envision a way to thrive in it. We need to figure out how to live as disciples of Jesus in the world we are in, as is. Our energy needs to be directed into figuring out how to move forward in the mission of Jesus into a new beginning.The Church is at a crossroads where we can choose to fight for the way things were or we can put our efforts into blazing a new trail. It is time for the church to move forward. Click To Tweet
Good questions to wrestle with
- How do we live as disciples now?
- How do we do church now?
- How might worshipping together look in the future?
- How do we make online ministry effective?
- How do we move forward?
Because we have to move forward
We’re entering into a new journey and we need to figure out how to move forward together. We need to think through the mission, the goal, the intended result, and then find new ways to get there. The ends have not changed: Love God, Love others, Make disciples. But many of the means will need to change dramatically.We need to think through the mission, the goal, the intended result, and then find new ways to get there. Click To Tweet
Setting a reasonable pace
I think of William Bridges’ classic book Managing Transitions. He suggests that to manage transitions, we need to first let go of what was. Then we need to remain in a neutral zone where we process, learn, and adjust for a while, which can be uncomfortable. After that, we can move forward into a new beginning. It’s like Moses leading the Hebrew people out of Egypt. The people needed to let go of Egypt, imperfect though it was, it was all they knew. Then they needed to spend a lengthy and uncomfortable time wandering the wilderness. Only then were they ready to go into the promised land. Change can happen suddenly. Transition happens slowly.Change can happen suddenly. Transition happens slowly. Click To Tweet
Moving forward in faith
It’s difficult to face uncertain new beginnings. We are explorers—the way forward has never been traveled. Mistakes will be made. We may abandon practices that we should keep. Or keep practices that we should abandon. We’ll need to figure it out as we go. It’s a journey of faith into an uncertain future.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. (Hebrews 11:8-9 NIV).
There is no clear path for this journey toward a new beginning. And we still need to go. Let us be intentional about how we move forward, and open to correction when we find the terrain different than we expected.
The next several blog entries will look at different issues and topics in light of journeying toward a new beginning:
- Teaching children
- Online services
- Getting people on board
- Raising up more small group leaders
- Worshipping in small settings
- Raising awareness of God’s presence
Change Management: We have several resources to help you navigate effective change. To learn where you need to focus, I suggest that you start with the Change Management Effectiveness Profile and then work through the Change Management Skills Builder. If you are coaching others in this season, you will find the Change Management Coaching Guide with Storyboard to be a powerful tool.