Today, as one who served in pastoral ministry for many years, I want to share something with my fellow pastors, church leadership, and those who love and pray for the local church. These are unprecedented times that will require of us deeper levels of wisdom and sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading.
When all the social distancing restrictions lift, and we begin to reassemble, be careful that you don’t assume you are coming back to something familiar. Yes, we will gather once again in a familiar facility with familiar faces, but everyone will have changed in the absence, including you. It would be wise to explore and understand the implications of that change. Take some of the remaining time of this separation to gather with your staff and primary leaders and talk about the ramifications of what has happened before you make plans to come back together. Your people know what a shared life of faith was like before all of this took place. They need leaders who understand what has happened in their thinking about the Church and how your ministry can help them live in a new world.
These changes are not physical but philosophical and mission-oriented. The application of your mission statement may need redefinition to take on new forms of expression, each with the same value as a Sunday morning gathering. The change that has taken place under the influence of this pandemic is more significant than any of us had imagined or fully realized. Those who discern and understand that change will be used by God to lead His people into new frontiers in the coming years, frontiers many of us did not know even existed.