Rethinking the Church… after COVID-19: A Reflection
It is a great season to live. It is a season of rebirth which brings changes in our lives and goals. A rebirth means death to the old- old way of thinking and living. It is resurrection time, and only what is dead can resurrect. Resurrection comes with a new focus and a new strategy. The resurrected Christ told his followers to go and wait in Jerusalem until the power comes. Is this lockdown a message of Christ, COVID-19, City Mayor, or Country President? Your answer will determine the outcome of the season for you.
The immediate effect of CODIV-19 in our contemporary time is unprecedented. Many people are saying, "we have not seen it like this'" until we begin to see newspaper clippings from archives showing that there is nothing new in the world we live. As we grapple with the day to day impact of various restrictions imposed by the virus, it may also be necessary to reflect on the next thing after CODIV-19. As someone asked, what is the first thing that you will do after this season is over? Pause to reflect.
One thing is sure; things can no longer be the way it used to be. I had a time of reflection with a medical doctor on this matter recently. He agreed that the practice of medicine, in particular, can no longer be the same. As such, he had already signed up for the practice of telemedicine. As for the church, new things have emerged, and the ministry landscape has changed. It can no longer be business as usual. Suddenly, we have come to realize in practical terms that the church is not a building. The church is those who believe in (not about) Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Nations are on lockdown, but the church still meets outside several of our gigantic and fanciful buildings. The Church must operate on her two legs-the church gathered and the church scattered. The church gathered has been overemphasized to such an extent that it has become “holy puddle” that breeds all kinds of creatures besides the new creation that Christ commands.
Have we come to realize now that the Church of Christ is not about membership but discipleship? The command is “go and make disciples…” Christ standard for discipleship remains the same in every culture and generation- “If anyone wants to be my follower (not just a church meeting attendee), you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” Lk 9:23 NLT. If this standard is propagated in the contemporary church, there will be no basis for comparison and competition because we will remain one in structure and content. The significant outcome of this experience is that the Church must be seen on Sundays as well as on the other days of the week. Now to a very serious question: Did the neighborhood miss the church gathered due to the lockdown by CODIV-19? Was the church missed due to her penetrating influence of godliness or due to a nuisance value of causing traffic hold-up associated with her meetings?
The workplace has changed and probably stretched beyond its elastic limit. We have now realized that there are many jobs can be done remotely. This will reduce commuting to work as many employers will now adapt to this new style. The church must rise from the grave of tradition into exalting Christ and Christ alone in the nations. Certainly, It can and must no longer be business as usual. What if the church goes back to its old ways? It simply means it has not died. Only what is dead can resurrect. If there is one healthy thing that must happen to the church right now, it is that all its myths and human-made rules must die.
Many believe that the church will fossilize if she let go of her myths and rules. Such thought could not be farther from the truth; Jesus is the chief cornerstone, as well as the builder of the church. The contemporary church leaders have usurped Christ's authority for far too long, pretending we own the church. Pastors and church leaders are not owners of the church. We are stewards. We have our role defined as equippers and not controllers. Isn't this a great time to begin to equip the family unit rather than engage in being program/event directors? Someone said; If all that the children know about the gospel is all they know; how much will they know? Parents that used to drop their children for children's teachers on Sundays and schoolteachers on weekdays have come to appreciate the labor of these teachers. The challenge now is one hope that the parents have something in place to teach the children besides; "Sit down there! I say sit down there, how many times did I say that?"
This resurrection may look scary, but it must be embraced if the church must ascend with the bridegroom on His return. Selah.