1. We can learn new things quickly when we have to. We can adapt and help others do the same. We have adapted well to the online world and have finally found the fertile digital mission field!
2. The church is people. Gathered together or alone we remain the church of Father, Son and Spirit; instrument of his ongoing mission to call, gather and enlighten sinners into his fold.
3. Gathering in one building at one time that suits us is not the only way to be church – it’s wherever the gospel is proclaimed and the sacraments are administered according to that beautiful grace-filled gospel.
4. The Lord has given us very good gifts at this time.
- Fewer rosters, programs and busyness means more time to relate to others.
- God’s people taking responsibility for God’s people without the pastor having to tell them to do so or to do the heavy lifting. The flock have taken upon themselves to care for each sheep and have done a marvellous job.
- A shift of focus from how to keep the church running the way it has in the past, to enjoying what the Lord is doing among us in our relationships.
- Pastors experiencing more space to listen to the word, to God’s people, to their family and friends and people in our local communities.
- The opening up of our ‘front door’ into the online world where there are not only regular church people but many others listening in.
5. ‘Getting back to normal’ as quickly as possible may cost us too many of these good gifts. Our goal is not to ‘get back to normal’, but to stay with the Lord in the present, listening and learning where he leads us, whatever that may look like.
6. Our Western society since World War II is actually not the ‘normal’. Communities of Jesus have always dealt with plagues, natural disasters, persecution, poverty, injustice and death – without easy escapes. Jesus is not our escape. He is our Saviour so he can call, gather and enlighten the world through us.
7. Worship can be big and small too. We can participate with Christ in his mission in not only one building at one time but in many small household buildings at various times.
8. God’s people have many gifts and can do many things in ministry and mission and should continue to do so.
9. What happens in small gatherings in homes and workplaces is just as important as what happens in larger groups on Sundays, and more effective in the ongoing nurture, witness, fellowship and service with and for our own people and people in our local communities.
10. We are called by the Spirit to listen to his word, not ‘fix the church’ as we want it fixed. We don’t have to ‘fix’ the church. We are called to listen to the word of the Spirit and let him lead us into his future for us all.
Pastor Adrian Kitson is chair of the LCA/NZ’s Commission on Worship and serves the flock at St Petri Nuriootpa in South Australia.
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