What Happened to Normal?

We have waited for over a year, September 2021 was supposed to be the return to normal for most of the United States, as I said in the newsletter this month, the days when we could wait for all our ducks to get in a row are gone.  But September is here, and things aren't unfolding like we thought.  We thought we would have a different reality.  In this reality people aren't getting vaccinated, children under 12 still can't be vaccinated, there is a stronger variant now, area hospitals are staying much busier and some are getting close to capacity, and our state and local numbers aren't on the decline yet.

When the pandemic first began I pointed out that we have a chance to be the church in a way we have admittedly never been good at.  Keeping engaged with those at home.  Usually when someone stops coming, they miss out on the life of the church.  Early in the pandemic, no one was coming, many churches, leaders, and pastors took the opportunity to observe and learn. The pandemic has given us the opportunity to rethink the way we do church, in both large and small ways.  I believe that we will soon be mostly adapted to some of the curve-balls the new era will throw at us.  We cant wait for the pandemic to be over, or ignore it, and be intentional about the life of our church.

This season sounds like a scary one, but it doesn't have to be.  After all, its not a time to be afraid, but a time to learn.  Every thing that happens can be used for God's Good, but it takes intentional work on our part.  Even this pandemic disguises a blessing if we take the opportunity to learn, adapt, and overcome these obstacles.  We are in a new era, a future that we are responsible for molding ourselves.  We need to stop being nostalgic for normal. Stop looking over our shoulder, its never coming back. Stopping to look over our shoulder is keeping us from moving forward.  The more we look back, the more time we spend missing the opportunity that we have right here, right now.

We have so many opportunities going forward. We have the chance to walk into this unknown season with our eyes open, and our tools of what we have learned are with us.  We can be the ones helping others into the transition of a new era of church.  It will be in the forming new relationships that our community will be truly transformed.

There are people right here, just next door who have never been invited; some have never been invited to our church or any church. Our first steps into the future should include intentional ways to involve our neighbors right here.

As a consultant, this is usually where the conversation occurs and someone asks, "What if they don't _______ like us?  I think Jesus would say, "that's the point..." If were all at the same point on our Journey, who will push us, who will pull us, because we won't...  We won't grow spiritually individually or collectively, and we cannot grow physically, without diversity in the body.

As we approach Fall 2021, and look to invite people to our response to the church living in a new reality.  Lets remember that our church needs to keep going after the last, the lost, and the least; not the people who are already here.  The more we do that, the more we will reflect Christ back into our community.