Crisis speeds up innovation
The Covid-19 crisis has taught us many things. But one of the main things is this: Forms change, spirit doesn’t. One said, “crisis is a cradle for innovation.” Some even say, “crisis speeds up civilization.” Unfortunately, church is often very reluctant or late to change.
Many pastors had a different opinion about digital church ministry, and online preaching before the pandemic. Some were very against it, quoting scriptures to back up their argument. But once the pandemic hit, and the building closed down, all of them were so quick to go the digital route and invest in online preaching. It tells us that many things we believe and uphold can possibly be mere “attachment” to what we prefer, not “conviction” of what is true. We can get attached to forms, without understanding the spirit of it.
I am very thankful that our church was ready for the change when the pandemic hit. We implemented online giving from the very beginning of our financial autonomy. Our website was ready to easily lead people to online service and provide the necessary information. We had implemented an online church management system that enabled us to contact our members quickly and efficiently. In every step of these implementations, our leadership had willingly aligned to the new initiative when the change didn’t seem important, or even necessary.
The Spirit of New Testament Church
The spirit of the church will never change, but forms do. The characteristic of the New Testament church was: Mobility, Diversity, and Flexibility. Every early church was different due to the varying demographics and needs of each city it was located. We should be so mission-focused that we can be flexible to anything as long as it is not against the spirit of restoring the New Testament Church.
The way we do things as a church will continue to change and adapt. And due to the pandemic, it might feel that helping people to follow Jesus is very limited for now. But Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against “his” church. (Mat 16:18) Church has always thrived under crisis, if not become healthier. Despite many challenges, I believe we will be in better shape if we continue to keep our focus on Jesus and willing to be flexible as we earnestly pray for wisdom. Then Jesus will lead “his” church in the right direction.