And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
I love that insurance commercial where a millennial couple is stuck on the side of the road with their car, and one of them says, “Most likely, it’s out of gas, but what if we just unplug it and then plug it right back in?” I laugh every time, thinking of all the times I thought my computer or cable box was broken. I unplugged it, re-plugged it and it was back to normal. Even my LG dryer stopped working the other day; I unplugged it, plugged it back in, and it was fine.
In many ways, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a reset for society and for the church, a reboot if you will. We’ve been forced to take time to rethink, re-evaluate and reprioritize our lives and the life of the Church. As we gradually re-open, we’re excited to see our world returning to some sense of normalcy.
I’m really excited to re-open. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed all of you. I’m excited to see you, to be in community together, to worship together, to be family once again.
But if we think the Church will return to life as before, then we are sadly mistaken. The stay-at-home time has affected our lives and the life of the Church in many ways. What was once so important, doesn’t seem so important anymore. Leaders are wise to consider all the new possibilities and opportunities the pandemic has brought to the surface. What will the Post-Quarantine Church look like?
In the next few weeks, we’re going to explore how the Church has changed in the last year and how the Church needs to change in the days ahead. Each Sunday we’ll be rethinking church life: ministry, prayer, communication, outreach, community, our facility, and ultimately, our attitude toward change. Your Board of Elders will be wrestling with these questions and seeking positive (and maybe difficult) changes to further the Kingdom of God in our city.
As of May 2nd, we are re-opening the church to those who are three weeks past their second vaccine (or the single vaccine if they had the Johnson & Johnson) and their under-aged children. We’ll be looking at next steps for children’s and youth ministries, but for now we ask that children and students stay with their parents or caregivers. We’re excited to say, “Welcome back!”
Although the vaccines are highly effective, they are not 100%. So we will continue to follow CDC guidance and continue to maintain safety protocols: wearing face masks, social distancing, hand washing, and staying home when feeling any symptoms.
With the size of our congregation and the size of our sanctuary, I feel like we’ve been social distancing for years. So we’ve got this! Expect to see even fewer people than before when we first re-open. We’ll continue to live-stream, so expect worship leaders to speak to both the in-person congregation, as well as the camera and the virtual congregation.
From all the studies I’ve read, there are a couple of trends in the Post-Quarantine Church. Some people have given up on church completely; others have found new life with a different online ministry; and still others will remain faithful to their church family, but have found they are more comfortable staying in their pajamas and worshipping in their living rooms. While we should be aware of obstacles facing ministry, we should be looking for new opportunities, as well.
So let me make this request. Consider how the church has changed in the last year. What were some positive changes? What changes do you think we still need to make? How might we better reach out to our city and the world? How might we make more of an impact in the neighborhoods surrounding the church? How might we better connect people with Jesus Christ and to one another?
Think about these things, but don’t just think about them, discuss them with one another. Share your thoughts with me and/or with active elders. We should not let this historic moment slip by without seizing the opportunities and facing the challenges that will determine the future of our congregation and our ministry in downtown Santa Ana.
What will the Post-Quarantine Church look like? The answer to that question is up to all of us. Let’s take this opportunity to do new things for our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ!
I’m looking forward to seeing you all in church. Literally!
In Christ’s love & service,