With every significant event that takes place in the world, the church has changed. What we know of church, what we do in church, who goes to church – that have all been impacted generations after generations. Another worldwide pandemic in 2020 proved this true.
I don’t see this as a bad thing. In fact, I find it a refining process. God is using this season to take the church out of the box we have placed it in. We have squashed church into a box and have expected it to fit in there and stay that way.
I understand. Change is usually hard for me too. I find comfort in routine and the mundane. I like being in this box that I am used to.
It is interesting to see what happened when the first waves of lockdowns hit the world last year. The church gained a whole new audience. Our testimonies have reached a wider community through different means. People who usually might not step into church now get to see what happens in it with just a few clicks. Not that they couldn’t before, but the somewhat bleak year has propelled people to do different things.
What a generation to live in! We got to see the Great Commission manifested in a whole new way. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew chapter 28, verses 19 - 20).
We also got to see how church goers reacted. We are now dealing with a whole group of people who think that meeting physically as a church is not necessary. Even without safety or health restrictions in place, there are those who are arguing that we can reach a greater audience through the internet. It has certainly become a contentious issue within the church.
What we think and we feel, however, needs to be based on the Word of God. There has always been and there will always be a blessing in the church gathering together. Hebrews chapter 10, verse 25 states that we “should not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” It nourishes our spirit man to encourage and be encouraged by fellow believers.
Martin Luther declared that, “In the church when the multitude is gathered together, a fire is kindled in my heart and it breaks its way through.” I am sure many, if not all, Christians can attest this statement to be true. How many times have we dragged ourselves to church but found a spring in our step as we left? Truly, there is a special blessing in the gathering of believers.
So.. do we go back into the box?
Should we do church the same way again? Not at all. In fact, quite the opposite. I like how Martijn van Tilborgh mentions in his book, Innovation: Transforming Your Ministry With Creative Thinking, that we “have to destroy those boxes that once controlled our thinking and limited the abundant life that God has destined us for.”
The meeting of believers should not stop, but let’s face it. Church as we know it has changed. In order not to run back to the old ways of doing things, we need to get rid of the box that we have so carefully made. We need to start looking to God and move with the times.
Make an opening in the roof
“They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark chapter 2, verses 2 – 5).
The Gospel never grows old. Jesus never changes. Let’s focus on the One who is constant as we strive to find new ways to help people reach Jesus. Those four men who made an opening in the roof? They did just that.
Mussita Ng is a follower of Jesus Christ from Wellington, New Zealand. Her previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mussita-ng.html