“Changing the Face of America”
That was the title of an article about “King C. Gillette.” Yes, I thought that as well, who would name their child “King?” You probably realize that King Gillette invented the safety razor — the disposable, inexpensive, and disposable safety razor. All of those factors made it one of the most popular and enduring inventions of American industry. Today it is “Harry’s Dollar Shave Club,” which is trying to make its mark on the face of the American shaving industry.
The article’s headline was designed to catch the reader’s attention by going from a metaphor to the literal. Indeed, Gillette truly did change the faces of millions of men who began shaving and began shaving daily.
Already there have been a number of articles published1 on how COVID-19 is going to change the face of America — financially – socially – psychologically – politically. We will have to see how many prophets will be “proven prophets” versus those who “must be stoned.”
national world-wide crisis may well have changed the face of America spiritually! I will venture out to say that there will be . . . .
• a number of members and friends of the church who will make a move to another ministry.
• a number of members and friends of the church who will no longer faithfully attend but will become part of the sporadic.
• those who will just drop-off-the-cliff and disappear from church life.
• a precipitous drop in church giving, and that will affect the church for years.
• a number of “Christians” will conclude that maybe attending the other services of the church are not that important.
• a lost interest in attending any other service than the Sunday worship service, as pastors demonstrate by their decisions that this is all that is worth offering.
• a shrinking church staff, initially by necessity, but then by a realization that there are unproductive, unnecessary, and a lot of “dead-wood” in church ministries.
This is where I had to make a decision on whether I wanted to try to be expressive or persuasive.
Do I want to try to make the case for thinking and re-thinking what this crisis means to ministry, or did I want to expressive my response to what I see as wrong-headed? While I will try to occupy the middle-ground, at times, you may detect me leaning towards the “expressive.”
The church has a habit of arriving “Late to the Party” when it comes to being clear-minded and clear-sighted. Sometimes this is caused by trying to be what they are not. At other times, it is because they are not what they have been called to be.
For instance . . . . .
√ There will be the day when this national crisis is over, and American life will begin to its journey back to “normal,” or probably a new normal. There will be a Sunday morning when “the church” will gather back together for that first Sunday service. Are you preparing today for that day — NOW? What are you doing to make that Sunday all it should and can be for God’s people?
While we will all just be glad to be back together, are we thinking ahead and how this crisis has changed the face of the American church. Some pastors may not even be thinking ahead, reflecting on what that day ought to be like, in the life of the church.
- More music? Less music?
- A shorter or short message?
- One single extended service — combining the “SS Hour” with worship hour?
- A time of “random” testimony, or should it be selected testimonies?
- What theme and/or the Scriptual Passage would be ideal?
- Selection of congregational hymns/ songs
- What tone needs to be set?
- Do we take an offering? What will it — should it be for?
- How to plan the arrangement of people in the auditorium
- How do we address the situation of any members/friends who have been affected
- Rather than a typical church bulletin, is there something we want to put into the hands of God’s people on that day?etc. — and many more, which are running through my mind! This is where my mind is as I think about ministry, as a “now-outside-insider.”
I could comment on many of the above areas and lean towards “the expressive.
It is evident that some pastors are already “late to the party.”
i.e. — Some are tone-deaf and talking about money! — (Oops – Help me. I’m falling!)
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.”