Not WHEN BUT HOW

The last month has been an absolute rollercoaster of emotions and news announcements about the Covid-19 pandemic! I am sure that all of you are stressed out and tired of hearing about the every-changing, daily updates as I am. We have had to deal with the morphing of the virus and movement across the world. The daily updates and statistics have now moved to a new demanding answer -WHEN can we come out of Stay At Home orders and resume our life as normal? This includes getting our economy back moving, shop openly, eat out, go back to work and last of all the number one question I hear is WHEN can we go back to Church?
I have passed on as much information from various sources to our pastors and leadership. This question is being researched and scrutinized by everyone. I have heard some churches are looking at going back as soon as April 26th. Others have taken a more cautious approach and looking at Mid-June. So, what is the criteria that will determine when we are allowed to “congregate” again? I made a public statement yesterday and supported the Union Baptist Association and the Austin area of not moving too swiftly on this matter. Basically, I support a first part of June return date.
I know everyone is antsy to get back to NORMAL. But coming out of this GLOBAL PANDEMIC we have to ask what is normal, and what do we think we are returning to? I have been persuaded to ask many questions about that last question – what are we going back to? I posted a blog  last week at “preachbetweenthelines.com” on GOING BACK IS NOT AN OPTION.” Israel always wanted to go back to Egypt when there were obstacles and struggle along the journey to the Promise Land. I want to share an “Exit Strategy” from Covid-19 as we come out of the stay at homme order and return to the NEW NORMAL. Before I talk of the strategy, there is a burning question every person and church must ask; HOW HAS LIFE CHANGED because of the pandemic and WHAT IS THIS NEW NORMAL? I ask these questions because in reality we have to ask DID NORMAL WORK? To return to a system or status that did not work, seems ludicrous.
As we come back to our Churches, then we must make sure to get this right – for if we miss this eternal moment in the life of Mankind, I fear there may not be another opportunity for repentance and revival of the Church and salvation for the Lost. That being said here are five principles every church and pastor must consider: [these principles attributed to my friend Dr. Tom Cheyney of Renovate ministries]
1. Be Clear in your Directions; make sure you communicate clear, leaving no doubt as to what you want the people to do or not do.
2. Be Confident in your Desires; this means being sold out to the ideas and actions you are going to implement or change.
3. Be Committed in your Decisions; no waffling – stand strong in the direction you are going. People will need to see confidence and your personal commitment to the plan.
4. Be Corrected by your Defeats; this means be flexible and allow for somethings that will not work but be ready to adjust when necessary. I would add, do not be in a hurry.
5. Be Conscious of God’s Dependability; God is faithful, He is immutable -does not change. God the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
I would add that is more important HOW we come Back than it is WHEN we come back. Our return to the buildings we call the Church cannot be about our assembling together again. It must be about the praise and worship of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.
Many churches will probably return back to the same “routine normal” they left. Seeing this period of the virus only as an interruption and nothing more – that would be a grave mistake. The Churches have filled the airwaves and internet with their services and sermons. These have engaged and impacted the lost world. SO much has been done to help mankind to weather this storm. My prayer is that the LOST will not look around in a few weeks and ask “WHERE DID THE CHURCH GO? Only to have someone tell them “OH, THEY WENT BACK TO THEIR BUILDINGS!”
Blessings
Jim Grant
Executive Director

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