After weeks of closed churches, we’re starting to get back together. It feels great, too. I preached at one of our churches last Sunday. The spirit in the building was electric. The worship was strong. Afterward, nobody wanted to leave. People are ready to fellowship and worship together again.
On the other hand, everything isn’t quite open, yet, is it? Our churches are still struggling with some aspects of ministry, like children’s ministry. And parents with young children are still trying to figure out how to come back to church. For the most part, the Bible study hour, Sunday School, is still locked down. I’m confident our churches will figure that out, too. If you’re looking for ideas about opening up for children’s ministry, we’ll be glad to help you think through what you need to do. We also have many fantastic resources at mtsbc.org and our Facebook page with helpful guidance, too.
As we move into the summer months, I know many of our churches will be looking at vacations and other activities that will keep folks out of church, too. One of the biggest challenges is going to be keeping up with why people aren’t showing up back at church. Let me encourage you not to assume that you know why some people aren’t back at church. Stay in touch, make sure your members know what ministries are open right now and when others are scheduled to open. Communication is the key right now.
I think the best thing churches can do is to use the summer months for community outreach and for getting ready for a full fall. While traditional VBS might not be something you’re ready to tackle just yet, why not try some community Bible groups, like Backyard Bible Clubs and Backyard VBS. When I was planting in Denver, we reached more unchurched kids with community based ministry than practically anything we did in our rented building. This was especially true with Backyard Bible Clubs. Kids were happy to come to these and parents didn’t have to drive their children to them. They were a great hit and created many opportunities to visit with parents afterward, too.
In the book of Jeremiah, the great prophet lamented, “The harvest is past, summer has ended, and we are not saved” (Jer. 8:20). He declared this in the midst of some of the darkest days for Israel. The nation was under the judgment of God. The people were oppressed from without and within. Jeremiah acknowledged that the people had lost their opportunity to prevent disaster. All that was left was a coming judgment that would be devastating.
We face a crucial moment ourselves. But, our summer has not ended. It’s just getting started. Let us use these months to rebuild, reconnect, rethink and prepare for a fall that will see us in full swing again. Let’s not just react to our circumstances and let the new normal just happen to us. Let’s take charge of this moment and help to create our new normal. Now is the time. God is still in control. The Lord’s command to make disciples still applies. He is ready to lead and to help. He is looking for those who will not be limited by what is but will move forward into what can be. Your MTSBC team stands ready to help. Let us know how we can be there for you. Let’s embrace this moment and with God’s guidance and resurrection power let’s seize our future.