I never dreamed near the end of my career I would have to reimagine everything I have ever known about church. All my life “Church” has always involved getting together in some way. Worship, Sunday School, Small Groups, committee meetings, hospital visits, youth group, Vacation Bible School, and church dinners were always face-to-face, mostly indoor encounters. The unspoken assumption of “church” was that “we will be together.” Our building was built primarily with this assumption in mind. Going to church literally meant physically going to the church building.
Suddenly about two years ago all of that changed. Then the new assumption became, “since we can’t get together in person because of COVID how can we truly be community?” Everything was a challenge at first, but shortly after the lockdown we had Easter with everyone joining together online. We had had over 700 people in the sanctuary to celebrate Easter in 2019. In 2020 we had seven: two pastors, two musicians and three in the tech booth. But it really was Easter, and we noticed when we looked at the report of who was on zoom that Sunday there were names we remembered of those who had moved out of state and even some new names of people who had never been to our building before. Our church suddenly became so much bigger than the building.
Now that we have a respite from COVID, this is an important time to ask ourselves what we want to keep doing that we discovered during COVID? What do we want to return to that we haven’t been able to for a while? What new things should we begin? And what do we need to stop doing because it just doesn’t work anymore rather than just go back to it because “we have always done it that way before?”
I hope you will all provide answers to the these questions by coming to the congregational meeting and filling out a paper form, logging into the link provided on the front page of this weeks newsletter or dropping off your answers next week after you have time to think about them. More than just an opinion poll, your answers will help the Session discern what God is calling us to do and be now and in the future.
This is not a drill; this is a spiritual exercise!