What Does All This Look Like At The End?
There are a number of secular articles that highlight the expected changes which will occur in American society and culture. This is but one article that seeks to identify some of the wounds and lasting scars emanating from this national health and financial crisis.
As stated in the previous post, the church horizon portends some equally challenging changes ahead. And likewise, there will be some local church wounds and scars because of the way pastors and churches are addressing this national health and financial crisis.
Important Disclaimers: (To moderate some of the push-back)
√ These words reflect “a vantage.” In no way do I think that I have it wholly right when it comes to speaking about this crisis and the local church ministry. As I have often stated, “As Christians, we do not need to agree, but we do need to think.” We can disagree on a lot of areas of local church ministry, and we do — music, divorce, Christian liberty, church government, dress . . . . .
The question is not whether we agree, but have we thought out our positions, and can we “argue” that position. I say “argue” because that is what it means to have thought it through.
√ Hindsight is typically 20/20. There will be a time when we will see this much clearer, and those who were naysayers will be proven to be correct — or incorrect!
√ There are not many ministries that have the financial wherewithal that a national/international para-church organization like “Samaritan’s Purse” has available — approximately 650,000,000. Nevertheless, they repeatedly demonstrate that they think outside of the box to in making, taking, seizing the opportunity to minister in time of crisis!
√ I also recognize that there are ministries that are creatively “redeeming the time” during this health and financial crisis. That there are many local church pastors and ministries which think outside of the box on a much smaller scale — not only financially, but in real, practical, and meaningful ways — trying to be the church, not trying to be what they are not.
√ Presently, I speak as an “outside-insider,” as one who has recently retired from years of pastoral ministry, not to mention years of Christian college and seminary teaching. Nevertheless, it is those past and recent years that have led me to think through what I would be saying and doing as a pastor or teacher.
√ I am trying to avoid being expressive and attempting to contribute to the process of “thinking it through” in light of the demands of a local church ministry.
I may fail at that approach. I will fail at that approach.
Some of my thoughts have been . . . .
- “WOW — this will be difficult to navigate!
- “How do you minister in this situation?”
- “The effects of these 4-6 weeks will be felt for years as some of God’s people come to some terrible conclusions about their need and/or the role of the local church ministry!”
- (Yes) — “Relieved by the fact that I do not have to make the decisions others in the ministry are facing!”
- “What would I do?“
“What would I hope I would do“ — for as Paul says, I do the things I don’t want to and don’t do the things I do want to.
First of all, there seems to be an embarrassing lack of creative thinking when it comes to the church’s approach to such a crisis.
I have little doubt that most could come up with some creative ideas when it comes to home and family. We could probably list out some ideas fairly quickly . . . . .
- Cook together
- Do a big puzzle & Frame it for — “A Remember When Item”
- Clean the garage / Have the children clean their room
- Paint a room
- Dig up worms with the kids.
- Go fishing.
- Go for a walk around the block.
- Plant some bushes together.
- Read the entire NT in 45 minutes a day in 30 days.
- Sing songs / Sing the songs which are playing in the background
- Watch a message or a series from a new pastor, not in your city.
- Go to the three closest parks to your house.
- Read the book you bought but never read.
- Call / Help someone. Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.
- Binge watch a GOOD series together on Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. while holding hands and eating popcorn.
- Begin a prayer journal.
- Exercise — last one on the list
Where is the creativity when it comes to local church ministry?
What are some creative ideas when it comes to local church ministry?
Are there not unique and creative ways that God’s pastors-preachers can use to minister? Ways to minister to people, that are like no other group in the world can do, because the church is unlike any other organization.
What is it, that the church has to offer and can offer, that other organizations do not and cannot offer during these times of crisis? What is there about being the church which directs our thinking and actions?
There seems to be a shortage of creative thinking when it comes to local church ministry.
An all too typical response seems to be . . .
“We will stream our service” and “ask for money” — “remind people about how they can continue to give.” Since they may have forgotten over these past weeks.
(If you want to read about my thinking about this crisis & money,
click here –> Your Choice)
How about . . . .
- A live call-in prayer line in the morning, or at noon, or at night where the members and friends of the church can call in live, and hear each other’s voices as they share requests for an hour or more a day?
- Operating an all-day “24/7/365” audio or video-audio stream of church preformed music that someone at home can listen to as they want. Many churches have hours of audio and video from past services, out of which they can put together good Christian music, and/or a message scattered at certain hours.
- A prayer-picture wall — send in a picture of you or your family which we will print out and post on that prayer wall, and feature on “Facebook” “Instagram.”
- Asking God’s people to send in a brief video of their family saying — “He is Risen Indeed” — which we can and will run next week before or during the Easter service.
- Asking for a name of someone that we as pastors can call and pray with, send a book, a CD of music and/or message, send a text message, send an email with music and Bible message attached, a . . . .
- Buying a large number of great Christian books and sending a copy to every family and friend of the church ministry.
- Having a pizza restaurant (a Kentucky Fried Chicken Bucket) in town, drop off a plain or pepperoni pizza at the front door of every member, friend, a friend of a member of the church — over the next number of days. I understand that this would take some unique planning, but it is not undoable.
- Putting together a DVD of church performed music, and mailing them out to all the members, and friends, and friends of the members of the church.
- Taking an audio or video clip from a previous pulpit message, which captures a key biblical thought and exhortation, and posting it daily.
- Ask people to send in a private email, mail-in card, text msg. (for pastor only) if they are facing a meaningful financial NEED, which they know that they are not going to be able to meet — so that the church can both pray for and seek to meet on some level — perhaps through a corporate all-church offering on the first day back to church.
- If you are able/allowed to be out, on your way to-from work, text-call the pastor(s), and he will pray with you from a good distance in the church parking area — or he will be there from 00:00 to 00:00 every day.
- Providing a meal needed at this time – or on this day? We will set up a pickup meal / pizza / dinner for you, from an operating drive-in restaurant that you can pick up.
- Some creative ways to handle a real physical household emergency? — i.e., a simple plumbing problem / failed air conditioner (I’m still thinking about how to address these situations.)
- A question and answer time, a roundtable of pastors, once a week, in the evening, on-line.
OK, that’s 14, and you could probably have come up with even more…….. would love to hear about them.
There will be many stories to tell at the end of this,
and I am convinced that not all will be pretty —
when it comes to “the church.”
We all love the Lord.
We don’t need to agree.
But we do need to think!
What story do you want to tell about this health and financial crisis
when this “trial” is all over?