Dear friends in Christ,
I’ve been thinking a lot about what church might be like when we emerge from this time of pandemic. Of course, we aren’t going wake up one morning and everything’s “back to normal.” First, ending this strange time will happen gradually, by fits and starts, over time. It might be months or longer. Second, I don’t think we want to go back to “normal” because that would imply everything was fine.
Instead of thinking about getting “back to normal”, I hope we’ll talk about post-pandemic life. We have a mandate for change unlike any other in our lifetimes. What do we treasure about our churches and our world that we want to sustain? What are the things we can finally let go of? Where should we be looking for change?
My colleagues at RenewalWorks recently published a wonderful blog post, “Now What? 5 Spiritual Growth Strategies for the New Normal”. There are some solid, practical tips on how your church might take stock of its spiritual well-being, along with some recommendations for how to nurture spiritual growth.
It has been too easy to forget why churches exist. There are a lot of good things churches do, but the fundamental reason Jesus commissioned us is to make disciples. So maybe this is the perfect time to figure out where we excel and where we need to improve.
In the RenewalWorks best practices, pastoring the community is an important part of our life together. This practice invites us to get to know the communities around our churches and to find ways to serve the needs of the community. In some ways, Episcopalians are often quite good at this work. But in other ways, we have room for growth. I very much hope we will use the lens of anti-racism to scrutinize our work in communities and our churches themselves. Do our churches reflect the diversity of people in our area?
It’s not just the post-pandemic world we need to talk about, but the post-Christendom world. Most people in our society simply don’t know Jesus. How will they learn about him if we don’t practice evangelism? Let’s try to do better at sharing the amazing news of God in Jesus Christ with our neighbors.
If you need a fresh dose of inspiration, I invite you to visit 50days.org, which I wrote about last week, too. I’m writing reflections every day of the Easter season to remind us all of the joy and wonder that is made possible by Christ’s resurrection. You can visit the site daily or sign up for emails.
Let us at Forward Movement know if there are ways we can support your church in the post-pandemic world. We have some ideas, but we’d love to hear from you.
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