Churches are not sure what to do or when to do it.
Andy Stanley just announced their church will not open until 2021.
North Point Community Churches announced Monday that it will not resume in-person gatherings through the end of this year.
But the happenings at the church do not establish your overall purpose.
The re-opening for churches is at a snail’s pace. The national polls average of those returning to physical worship is 35%. A recent related poll of church leaders revealed when people feel “safe” to gather again in public.
- 10% admitted they were unsure.
- 25% said they aren’t coming back for a long time.
- 30% said they’d rather worship at home and return when masks are no longer an option.
The answers are all over the map. Americans are not running back to the church.
Carey Nieuwhof said, “The return to church will not be the rush leaders hoped. As tempting as it will be to reopen the doors and believe everyone is coming back, the data (right now) shows that’s not the case.”
We have confused who and what the church is. The church is not a building, entity, or organization.
The church is a body.
It is a body encompassing people known as believers.
“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.” (I Corinthians 12:12–14, NKJV)
When the virus arrived the church left the building. Everything is different.
Even the simple things are hard:
Do I need to wipe off my grocery cart? Does cash spread more germs than a credit card? Should I get gas? Do I wear gloves at the pump?
Do I wear gloves? Can I wear a mask more than once?
Can I share a mask? Do I need to wipe off my boxes from Amazon?
Am I crazy? Maybe.
It’s a crazy world right now.
Some things have not changed:
YOU ARE STILL A DISCIPLE
A disciple is someone who believes in Jesus and seeks to follow him. The original disciples walked with Jesus on the earth. What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? It means first that we want to learn from God — as we study His word.
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31–32, NKJV)
So disciples are first followers and then constant learners. Disciples seek truth from God’s word and live out that truth daily.
This will never change even if all churches remain closed.
YOU ARE STILL A SERVANT
Jesus taught us, service requires sacrifice. In fact, He redefined greatness when He told His disciples,
“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43–45, NIV)
In early 2020 all churches were closed. Everyone was on live-stream. Most churches were using less than 10 volunteers per week. And most churches are still only using 25% of their volunteer staff.
Does that mean that you quit serving? Do not allow that to happen.
We can serve in a variety of places.
- serve your local food bank
- serve at the local hospital
- serve your shut-in neighbors
- serve your local animal shelter
- serve at local rehab centers
- serve first responders
- serve local police — make them dinner
Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying and remained with Him that day.” (John 1:36–39, NKJV).
An invitation from Jesus is an enormous deal. When asked to “come” it means more than a simple choice. To be told to “come” means Jesus chose you.
If God chose you (and He did), its life-changing — transformational.
It means that God has a work for you. A work or opportunity that exceeds all earthly endeavors.
Which one of us would turn down an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others?
Serving others is the ultimate satisfaction.
If the church never hosts another service, let us find you serving.
YOU ARE STILL PLANTED
God plants you in a body. The church plants you into a family. God uses your gifts in the family and other places for His glory and at His will.
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. (Psalm 92:12–15, NKJV)
The promises are sweet — flourish, growth, fruit bearer, and fresh in old age.
It takes a village to raise a child. And it takes a church to raise disciples, servants, and people that plant themselves in God’s house.
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