We are in a place we have never been before. No one knows what normal looks like. We’ve been sheltering in place for a long time, and we are really wondering what tomorrow holds.
The first thing leaders must do is surrender. We cannot run away from but rather run into “disorientation” and trust the leading of the Holy Spirit. Pastors worked hard to guide the church in a new direction when the pandemic hit – pastors now have another hurdle. At a Conference I went to last Fall, we were taught about Adaptive Learning. I learned that I don’t have all the answers. We learned that we must yield to God’s leading and invite the church to do the same thing.
We have learned that a “crisis” is a terrible thing to waste. The pandemic has thrown us into disorientation. We now have no choice but to let go of the “old” normal and experiment to take risks and to learn.
Think about this moment in history. We have never been here before and there is little to compare it to. We’ve had the Great Depression and 9/11, but never have we had exactly what we are facing today. We need to grapple with the great questions of our faith.
- “Where is God when people are suffering?”
- “Is God punishing the world?”
- Think about how people are reacting and imagine with me – “What would God want us to do?”
What is our next stop? A five-year plan is not what is needed. We need to develop a shared sense of what we need to learn together. We need to learn how to do electronic giving. We need to develop a Mission Budget that thinks about the needs of others. We need to figure out a new way to treat our neighbors and make everyone feel included. We need to decide on one or two things and do them. We need to learn how to “listen” to one another and love as Jesus taught us. We need to “claim” one more step and do it.
Yearning is the language of the soul. When we listen to others at “soul level” we become united. When we let go of what once was, we will be led by God into the future.
We all wonder what the future will hold. The reality is – the new normal is already with us. We will get used to protecting ourselves from viruses. We will do a better job of treating each other as equals. We will look for new ventures in the church and outside the church and we will continue to learn new ways to worship. The church will grow and flourish from the pandemic if we stay in the disorientation until we together find the next chapter of our lives. Our new normal is already here! Let’s embrace it together and flourish in the name of Christ!
Author: Tommy Herndon