Return to Normal or New Life, New Creation, and New Normal

If we thought the decision to close the church when the coronavirus pandemic was declared, just wait for the discussion around opening our buildings.

Because the world has been changing at such a rapid rate, my life as a pastor has totally changed. First it was trying to figure out how to move all of our worship and programming online. Thankfully, I had a lot of help from an enthusiastic staff, who by the way are a bit younger than most of us. They have fully embraced the technology, even if they miss the face-to-face fellowship.

I won’t be the first you’ve heard say this, but we are moving into a “new normal.” Things that the church has been talking about for years, online steaming, and electronic giving, have come to the church like the rush of a Pentecost windstorm. The pandemic propelled us to make these adaptive changes in days instead of years.

That being said, the path to re-opening our church buildings is littered with issues of how to return to “normal.” I have been buried in legal, industrial, bureaucratic, scientific, and statistical data that defines the path for a return to “normal.”

What if we just stop for a moment, unbury ourselves, and ask a few important questions before going headlong into preparing the way back to “normal?”

1. What has God taught us about ourselves and our church during the last 2 months?

2. What has this pandemic made possible that was not possible before?

3. What do we want our ministry to look like in 5 years? Have we learned anything that will get us there sooner? Or do we need to change directions?

4. What have we done, or could we do, that would make a difference to unchurched and unserved people in our community?

5. Two years from now, what will we wish we had done?

These generative questions excite the imagination, call us to prayer, and energize discipleship. Maybe we could return to normal, but should we? Maybe this is just the moment we could pivot to be the new life and new creation that God may be calling us to be.

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