Our purpose in the Pacific Conference is to “help build healthy local churches.” Every church has areas of health as well as areas of needed growth! There is no perfect church, and every church should be open to change.
Before I forget, don’t miss the opportunity to hear Dr. Gary McIntosh at tomorrow’s Zoom Room (details at the end of today’s blog).
As we lead toward the end of this pandemic, here are four shifts every church must make.
1. From inward-focused to outward-focused
Jesus called us to “go” to the world, not for the world to come to us (Matthew 28:19-20). We must prayerfully and intentionally look outside our church walls. Dan Reiland put it this way, “Significant impact can be accomplished by a church of any size that is focused outward and desires to make a difference in their community.” Our heart for our community has to move past “they’re always welcome to join us” to strategically reaching into the lives of those around us.
2. From conflict to alignment
Anxiety and unresolved tensions hold a church back. Most of our churches have seen a significant increase in conflict. Mulling over masks and the polarization over politics are just just two areas of dissension. Sadly, we are expending too much of our time and energy on things that are not mission critical.
Biblical alignment is essential for us to be a healthy church. It’s always worth asking: is this a scriptural matter or a cultural matter? If it’s outlined in scripture then there’s no room for debate but if it is just a cultural tradition then we must be willing to let it go.
3. From focusing on the past to embracing the future
COVID seems to have accelerated changes in our culture. For the church to be influential, we must change as well. The message can never change, but the methods must change. Too often we’re too content and just continue doing what we have always done. That will not work any longer. A trapeze artist has to let go of one bar to grab onto the other. Yes, there is a risk. Yes, it is scary. But we must let go of the past and make the needed changes to impact a world desperately in need of Jesus
4. From isolation to engaged
Our extended lockdown has led to increased isolation and apathy. As we reopen, many churches are struggling to find volunteers for various ministries. We know that most people, even if they get COVID will be okay, but fear still seems to grip a lot of people. With the cases dropping and the vaccines rolling out, all of us need to fully engage and use the gifts and resources we have to help the church.
BEFORE YOUR GO
Change is not optional. In fact, everything that is living is changing. What other shifts are needed as we move forward? Love to hear from you!
Finally, don’t forget about tomorrow’s Supt. Zoom Room! Just clink the link below. Everyone is welcome! Dr. Gary McIntosh will be sharing on “Transforming the Church.”
When: Thursday, February 11th at 9:00 AM (Pacific Time)
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As I start this interim role at Canby, I really appreciate these important reminders of guidance. In to out, conflict to alignment, moving from the foundation of the past to the continuing focus on Christ and from being isolated to being engaged. May we indeed be the light of Jesus in our community and around the world.
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