I am not the first person to say this and this probably won’t be the last time you ever hear this but 2020 changed the Church. 2020 forever impacted God’s people because we were faced with realities that most of us have never had to deal with.
Almost overnight our patterns and methods of ministry became unusable and outdated.
We have had to pivot and move to new methodologies if we, as God’s people, were going to continue to gather around his word, worship together, impact, and serve our communities. Our message hasn’t changed, the GOOD NEWS that Jesus Christ has brought to us, but how we deliver, impact, and present that message to those around us has.
In this year of learning, I have seen God at work. Much like Joseph was sent ahead of his family to prepare the way to preserve them, I have seen how God has prepared his bride for such a time as this. If you have a couple of minutes I would love to share with you what I saw and hopefully, we can find hope at the end that even though this year wasn’t what we planned we can trust in our great God who knew and was working even in spit of the pandemic we faced.
FIRST IN 2020, WE LEARNED THAT OUR REACH IS MORE THAN JUST OUR SEATS
I strongly believe that God has used this disease to reveal that our reach and impact as churches aren’t based solely on the number of seats and people we can accumulate. Our reach is in the homes of our people, in their jobs, on the streets, at the restaurants. I think one thing from this time is that we as churches have learned that our buildings were becoming idols, we may not have known it, but when we couldn’t meet in our buildings anymore it’s like we didn’t know what to do.
I believe this season is one where God is calling his church to be the church more than ever. You can’t meet in buildings, then meet in your homes. You can’t break the word and worship with thousands, then do with a few of your closest friends. Not neglecting the church doesn’t mean that we have to have every member on the roll in attendance, find ways to be the church in day to day life. This focus on the outside of the 4 walls of the church can only be a help to the church. May we never forget this, even as we gather again, may we always remember that our reach is more than the seats, so let’s be about reaching those outside of our worship centers.
SECOND, INTENTIONAL CONNECTION OVER PASSIVE POSTING
As soon as we were forced online, everyone “upped” their live stream game. We saw Black Magic Design sell out of their stock of switchers. We saw big churches change where the cameras were placed, and small churches invested in cameras. Overnight we became social media machines.
The danger with this is that we have gravitated to posting a large amount of content but we might be forgetting the real reason for all of this. The reason we do what we do is connect with people and share the greatest news ever! Let’s not forget that intentional planning and organization need to go into our posting and that above all we just want to connect with people where they are. If you are having trouble connecting with people let our team know we would love to recommend some resources and contacts who can help you and your church.
NEXT, I REALLY SEE HOW GOD HAS BEEN PREPARING US FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS
When the pandemic hit we saw the need to for hosting an online church. LifeChurch and OUTREACH stepped up to the plate, both offering services to help you with your online hosting. Streaming providers like VIMEO and RESI have stepped up to enhance what they do to help churches stream in the best way possible. We saw apps like PROPRESENTER released with the end goal of helping churches stream well, no matter the size.
On a little different angle, I was listening to amessage fromPASSION CITY CHURCH where they interview BOBBY GRUENEWALD. Now, who is BOBBY you might ask? Bobby helped found the YouVersion Bible app. That amazing app on every one of our iPhones and iPads was something Bobby helped with. YouVersion has been installed on more than 400 million devices worldwide.
Now you may ask, why does this matter? Get to the point!
Well, I think it’s amazing that God prepared YouVersion these 20 years to be in a spot when the people of GOD couldn’t be together that people could still engage with the word of God no matter where they find themselves. God prepared for 2020 by creating this platform and tool the church could use. This was not the only tool we saw God orchestrating for such a time as this. CHURCH ONLINE PLATFORM was created, companies like Resi and VIMEO and so many others made an impact in our churches this year.
God knew this would happen to the church and he brought together events that would allow the church to stay connected and stay engaged with the mission they are called to do.
I BELIEVE THE FOURTH THING THE CHURCH HAS LEARNED IS THAT WE ARE MORE THAN A SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE
The life and ministry of our churches can’t hinge on just meeting for worship 1 day a week. While the gathering is important there is much ministry that happens in our churches that extends beyond the 90minutes of a Sunday morning. Church’s have had to be creative in finding new ways to care for their cities, love their neighbors, and build up the body. I believe is a good thing.
May we never miss that Jesus calls us to more than a worship experience but he calls us to live transformed lives by caring and sharing for those around us.
LASTLY, WE LEARNED IN 2020 THAT THIS YEAR DIDN’T SURPRISE GOD
What was surprising and shocking to every human on planet earth, God wasn’t taken aback. He isn’t concerned or scared. Instead, God is using, has used, and will continue to use, even COVID, to advance the gospel and bring people from death to life. May our prayer and dedication be to figure out how we can join Him on this mission while living and facing what we encounter in the comings months, year, and future of our lives.
Steve Dirks has spent over 10 years serving in different churches doing lyric presentation, audio, visual content creation, and helping lead teams of volunteers. He currently serves as the Executive Director for [twelve:thirty]media. Steve loves spending time with his wife Rebekah and daughter, Mercy.