After several frustrating attempts to make my digital device work correctly, I called the IT expert. Invariably, his first question is, “Have you rebooted your device?” Sure enough, when I do the first thing on the trouble-shooting chart – “reboot” – most of my struggles with tangled-up electrons running amuck on a silicon chip sort themselves out.
As federal and state guidelines are changing from quarantine and shelter-in-place to reengagement with businesses and communities, it is imperative to understand that the world has changed significantly. The church has changed, as well, with respect to how we worship, equip, and, above all, make disciples.
As government “orders” were peeled back like layers of an onion, so implementation strategies for returning to public gatherings, church events, and public worship will experience a “rolling out” of guidelines. Some states should anticipate different guidelines county by county.
It is critical for churches to begin preparing now for the return of on-campus activities. The MBC has prepared a conversational guide for preparing a church to reboot. You can find it online at mobaptist.org/covid-19, along with many other helpful resources.
However, we cannot waste what the Lord our God is doing spiritually during the pandemic. Some of the things that have occurred are exactly what we needed to help us personally reset our relationship and fellowship with the Lord, who knows our beginnings and our endings.
Don’t stop leaning on the Lord
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed a pause button on the way many believers and their local churches normally operate. It’s as if our Lord has used this time to say, “Be still and listen. I want to do something new and magnificent.”
Thanks to COVID-19, the church – the people of God – must take certain vital actions in a post-COVID-19 world. Take a look at the verbs in the list below:
1. Focus on the solitary mission of making gospel disciples; become less programmatic.
2. Exercise humility before God and with people; surrender pride and self-righteousness at the foot of the cross.
3. Invest in a Spirit-filled, prayerful lifestyle; remember what God can do in a moment.
4. Plunge into the Word of God for nourishment and instruction.
5. Be less strident and skeptical; choose kindness and understanding toward one another.
6. Embrace the new tools for communicating with people as a standard practice.
7. Instead of building mega-buildings, consider starting more autonomous local churches shepherded by larger churches.
8. Face the brevity of life with the glorious victory we have in Christ over sin and death.
9. Be responsible for future generations with choices that may impact religious liberty.
10. Stop attempting to fill everyone’s activity list; celebrate what the Lord wills to do through His people.
11. Without intimidation, and as a part of your daily conversation in person (6 feet apart) or online, share the gospel daily by speaking much of Him.
12. Be a conduit of generosity to your local church; now may be the time to train a new generation in storehouse tithing.
Above all, “draw near to God and He will draw near to you . . .” (James 4:8). A microbe on the other side of the planet may have kicked this pandemic off, but the Lord may use anything to get our attention.
We would waste this season if we fail to go deeper in our relationship with the Lord our God. Be intentional, come to Him, and make a fresh surrender to the Lord. There is no greater priority for a church during the Covid-19 pandemic than to seek the Lord.