Reopening? Hit Reset!
Rev. Bill Geis
There’s a popular meme that goes like this, “We need to re-install 2020, it has a virus!” It gives a smile in trying times, yet few of us imagined all the losses and massive change the world would experience as 2020 began. Even with some churches reopening, we can’t reinstall January 2020. There are, however, tremendous opportunities for our churches to experience new beginnings as we move forward through this crisis.
We Can’t Rewind
Throughout the crisis the Missouri District staff has been supporting churches and schools, church workers and lay leaders with web-based meetings in congregations, schools, circuits and large forum webinars. In our April 22 webinar, we suggested resisting talk of “when we go back to normal.” Yes, we wish we could re-install or rewind. But the life of disciples following Jesus has never been hitting “rewind” so we can do better. By the grace of God, we live in a daily renewal of baptismal transformation. Why would we hit “rewind,” when by grace, we can hit “RESET”?
Times Poised for Revival
Never before has the whole world stopped like this! Every Christian Church on the planet faced exponential change. Surely God is with us in this! These are times to expect revival in the church. We are likely in a time of renewal and growth that the Western Church hasn’t seen since the Reformation. How will the Body of Christ and its local churches be changed “for good” in these days?
This question isn’t merely about when to open or how to clean the building or what social distancing will look like (although these are important issues). The question is asking how God will RESET our churches’ commitment to be disciples who follow Christ. How will we RESET our devotion to the Word of God and prayer? How will we RESET deep connections in our church families? How will we RESET our mission to engage our neighbors and communities? How will our churches be changed, “for good”?
As each church maps out the phases of reopening, do more than examine the mechanics of your operations. Take time to ask questions like:
- How will my church raise the bar of Christian love and care for one another?
- How will my church live in two places: connecting those “in the building” with others needing to be “in their homes”?
- How will my church review, prioritize, and adapt all our ministry programs that were shut down?
- How will my church take steps to engage and renew relationships that have become distant?
- How will my church intentionally meet, listen and engage the enormous numbers of people visiting church online media?
- How will my church resist self-interest and specifically engage our community with generosity and doing good in the name of Christ?
Your District Support
The Missouri District staff provides resources and coaching to assist congregations process key RESET questions like these discussed here. Wherever your congregation is in the reopening process, we’re here to support you. Contact Bill Geis (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Congregational Services and Missions.