With COVID rising at the same rate of the stay-at-home order, there’s something unexpected that’s also rising in the Church.
This is nothing new from Jesus, the one who is building the Church right now.
He talked of new wine brewing and it begs for a new wineskin.
The prevailing ministry model assumed a certain content scarce, relationally rich environment. One that our fathers and grandfathers lived in that thought nothing of stopping all the week’s activities to go the church building to hear something from a pastor they could hear nowhere else while enjoying the rich relationships from intact families, decades long work friendships, and a social fabric built on stability, shared experiences, and lots of hugs.
That cultural environment has been no longer for a while now, yet the prevailing model on ministry assumes that it’s still true or should at least be brought back so that local churches can flourish.
But what if Jesus wants a new wineskin?
Before COVID there have been a group of different ministry models that have emerged challenging the status quo, each one taking on those assumptions in their own way and trying to address the new reality we find ourselves in.
Then COVID happened.
Every single model was forced to pivot into something they never talked about in their annual planning meetings.
Every. Single. One.
A new ministry model is forming, one that is unifying across denomination, creed, and network.
Don’t go to church, BE the church.
Our care is forced to be decentralized, our services digitized, our frequency daily…everyone is upping their game, in a good way.
Prayer matters now more than it ever has. That’s a good thing.
I think we’ll look back on this time and realized Jesus, the master builder, was creating a new Church altogether. COVID didn’t defeat the Church.
COVID DEPLOYED the Church!!!
Believers are awakening the latent power that Jesus has given them all along, to be ministers wherever they happen to be and networked to where they aren’t.
Every home church has a global reach now and some don’t want to go back to the old way.
Why would we go back when we are reaching more people, more frequently, making more disciples with more scalable development tools…with less overhead.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I talk to our church staff that don’t want to go back. They are awakening their pastoral giftings as they call people and pray with them over the phone and care for people in a personal way that they never thought to do when there was a catch-all Sunday service trying to do all the ministry all at once by a select few once a week.
I talk to parents in our church who are leading their kids spiritually for the first time in their lives and realize, they can do communion, prayer, and pastor their families in their homes like never before. We’re giving them the tools, it’s not that hard, and it’s empowering and exhilarating.
I talk to my fellow pastors who are feeling that video preaching isn’t so bad, in fact it’s kind of nice to edit a sermon to perfection on one side of the spectrum and be real in a daily livestream devotional on the other. It’s more excellent and authentic by being the Church every day. Granted, online communication is a different skill altogether, but we’re figuring it out.
I’m feeling a rising sentiment that as we experience all the decentralized, daily, digital ministry that’s happening right now as Jesus Church is being deployed, we’re looking around and asking the question, is Jesus building something new? Why would we go back to the old wineskin?
The Awakening Church
The Church is awakening to the value of relationships and prayer like we haven’t done in a long time. The Church in the COVID crisis is producing more content now than Hollywood and jamming social feeds with hope and I think Jesus is smiling, He’s building His Church and nothing can stop it!!!
I see a more deployed, unified, scrappy, relational, primal, networked, and personal expression of Jesus Church all around me and it reminds me of what Jesus says toward the end of the Holy Scriptures in Revelation 21:5 "And he (Jesus) who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
One thing’s for certain, Jesus has always been about resurrecting something new, better, and powerful from the old and the dead.
Maybe that’s why COVID happened around Easter?