All of us are faced with unique challenges that we have never experience before. This is true in the home, work place, and in the church. Questions like “Do I wear a mask when I shop in the local market place” to “when do we reopen the doors of our churches” are being asked. We are learning quickly new ways of doing things. New habits are being formed, and we will never go back to life as we knew it 3 months ago.
New words have also surface during this time. Webster recently added new phrases like social distancing, contact tracing, and community spread to their dictionary. New initials like WFH (working from home) and PPE (personal protection equipment) have also been added. For the church world it is words like “lobby” and “platform” that have taken on a brand-new meaning. While “unprecedented times” seems to win the award for the most used phrase in the church.
For many of us, ministry has been like going to a new job, and given very little instruction on what is expected, or how to perform. We have learned new ways of staying in touch, encouraging, and ministering to others. Learning on-line techniques has been both challenging and encouraging, but has given all of us a broader influence in our community and the world that we live in. However, now that we are returning to our church buildings, traveling more often, returning to our administrative offices, and
college classrooms, the temptation to try to go back to “doing business as usual” is present. Familiarity is usually easier, but not always better. I’m convinced that some of what we have experienced has stretched us to get out of our comfort zone and lengthen our “tent cords”.
At the 2020 Kingdom Life Digital Conference, you will hear me reference Galatians 4:9 NLT. The churches in Galatia were faced with similar challenges. They were facing the temptation to return back “to the weak and useless and spiritual principles of this world.” The Apostle Paul asked, one of the most important questions of that day – “why do you want to go back…”
“So now that you know God (or should I say God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless and spiritual principles of this world?” Galatians 4:9 NLT
I ask myself, and you, this same question today – Why do we want to go back? We are at a pivotal point in ministry! We have new tools to work with, and a greater sphere of influence.
My prayer is that we will not return to familiarity, just because it is easier, but that we will allow the Holy Spirit to continue to birth new methods of reaching a lost and dying world. We are not going back, we are going forward!
-Bishop Tim Lamb