I recently had the opportunity to fly to TN from Milwaukee to visit my mother who is on hospice care. There were 5 of us on the plane coming and returning. Social distancing was not a problem, and boarding the plane was amazingly quick! While visiting with my family, we had many opportunities to talk about heaven, life and death, and the hope of the resurrection. It was both worshipful and grievous at the same time.
During the flight home, I read almost the entire book of Revelation as I sought to refresh the picture of heavenly worship and what my mother would soon experience. I was freshly consumed with the scenery of heaven, describing myriads gathered around our King adoring Him in vibrant, intense, and consuming worship.
As I read, I kept thinking about our current situation and the remarkable opportunity we have in the local church to hold high the majesty of Jesus and the power of God put on display through the resurrection. Revelation 4:9-11 says,
'... the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."'
Eternity is real and virtually every human heart longs for peace and assurance. CoVid-19 is real and if you have been holding your breath waiting for things to “get back to the way they were,” you are likely going to be terribly disappointed. While the Corona Virus pandemic will likely come and go, it will certainly leave its mark on our everyday lives, and on the church.
We are in a transitional period where the church is once again discovering what is eternal and what is temporal. Like the people of Israel, exported to another country and in captivity for generations, we seek a new understanding of how to worship God without the usual norms to which we have grown accustomed. As the world has slowed down, leaders have an incredible opportunity to reflect on the most important steps in moving the church forward. What will be critical to hang on to as we communicate the life-giving message of Jesus and what things can we leave behind. What will the church look like on the other side of this pandemic?
There are 3 truths every individual must consider and respond to and each one is described with clarity in the book of Revelation.
God, as creator of the world, sent His Son to earth where He was crucified to pay the penalty of sin.
In His righteous mercy, God raised His Son from the dead defeating death and leaving the grave empty.
Jesus as the resurrected Son is a loving King over all the earth calling for repentance from any and all who will surrender to Him by faith knowing that He will one day return bringing judgment with Him.
What we are dealing with these days IS part of the "new normal" for us in ministry work, and the challenge is to create space and time to learn what is essential to the Great Commission and Great Commandment and what cultural trappings have so entangled us to the point of distraction..
The CGL District staff has been working tirelessly to read, review, and listen to best practices and new patterns so that we can encourage you to make the necessary changes to lead your congregation to new forms while never compromising the unchanging truths of the gospel. Virtual worship services, digital response opportunities, pastoring your neighborhoods, and prayer walking in your community are all new norms in these past several weeks.
It has never been more crucial for leaders to exercise their gift of leadership helping the church pivot, adapt, and press forward with an outreaching mindset into the community so desperate for hope. The new normal has not even been defined fully for churches yet, but we do know that we must cling to essentials while redefining our methodology.
Ken Nabi, Regional President
Ken Nabi has served as the Regional President for Converge Great Lakes since 2016. He earned a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and worked as a Marriage and Family Therapist before enjoying 21 years as a pastor at Community Church of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Ken is a strategic leader focusing on movements and reproducible systems. Community Church of Fond du Lac planted five churches during his tenure, and those churches helped plant seven more churches.