Pondering on Six Months of Pandemic
Six months, what events did you have on your calendar for the past six months? We had a trip to see our children, a vacation to Maine, birthday parties and various other fun things to look forward to and then somewhere around March 11th I heard on the radio, “…has now been declared a pandemic.” I remember that I was in my vehicle, in a parking lot at the time, what parking lot, I don’t remember. I know I felt a bit off balance hearing those words. On the other hand, I was also thinking, “other viruses have been declared a pandemic and haven’t affected us much.” Little did I know then that this one would change everything.
Graduations, weddings, and other celebrations have been postponed, canceled, or perhaps have occurred with considerable modifications. Even church services have gone “virtual.” I never thought I would see a time in my ministry where the church would go “virtual” at all – let alone for such an extended length of time. It is challenging for all of us. We miss each other. I miss my congregation. At first, I had hoped we would be back together by Easter, now we are planning on re-evaluating yet again, as we see how Ball State affects the positivity rates.
All of this can seem dire. I understand, I feel it too. On the other hand, the Church in the United States has been in a season of change for quite some time. Mainline Churches have been in slow but steady decline for at least a decade. Our society has changed, church membership is no longer valued as it was in previous generations. The church “competes” with many other ways in which people spend their time. Church is no longer a priority for most people in our culture. It was time for the Church to change. The pandemic accelerated the need and the process.
The Church has needed to find new ways to reach a new generation. For generations, the Church has been able to count on people coming to us. If they weren’t, we implemented new strategies and programs to get people in the door. Then, we worked on keeping them. Today, we must go out to the people. The goal is not getting people in our doors, “bottoms in seats,” but on making disciples of Jesus Christ, through the building of relationships. In order for this to work, we must first be a growing disciple of Jesus Christ. We must be excited enough about our faith to want to share it in healthy ways. Secondly, we must be willing to build relationships with people who are not Christian. These may be areas in which we may need to grow.
All through the scriptures, we see where tragedy has resulted in growth in the Church, and growth in God’s people. I believe God can do the same with this pandemic. Will you pray with me that God will give us wisdom on how to use this “unprecedented” time in our history for the building of God’s Church?
Grace and Peace,