“I’ve got bad new to tell you” my pastor-husband said the other day when he called me at work. “One of our staff is positive for COVID-19, and we’ve all been exposed. We’re having to cancel all of our Christmas services at church.”
I hung up the phone disappointed and worried. But it wasn’t the first time this year.
This year has been difficult for churches and pastors everywhere. We take one step forward and two steps back it seems. We try to move the church forward, while making tough decisions about safety for our congregation.
We all know of people who have had the virus, along with many who have been exposed. Some were very sick and some did not survive.
This has been a year of exposure. Not only for society from a virus, but also for the church.
As church buildings have closed temporarily throughout the year and God’s people have stayed home, it has exposed within the church several things. We must not miss these lessons as we go forward!
Our routine has been exposed.
Take a step back and evaluate your church’s weekly routine. Was it effective or just busy? Was life transformation in Christ a part of what your church regularly experienced? Or was the routine dead and in need of refreshing and renewal?
The complacent were exposed.
It is well known that many will not return to church, even if things go back to normal. These people were non-committed. Our congregations may look smaller when we return, but the church will be filled with the faithful, committed, and kingdom minded workers. That can be a blessing.
The need for a building was exposed.
The church this year reflected the early Christians in Acts — meeting in homes, with our families, or in smaller groups. We learned how to worship anywhere, not just in the sanctuary. The altar was not in front of the pulpit, but in our hearts.
We realized a church building is a blessing and we won’t take it for granted. As we reflect on the year, how can we best use our buildings for God’s purposes? How can we be the church within her four walls as well as in our communities and beyond?
COVID-19 has exposed us in ways we never could have imagined. God has uncovered these truths and many more within His church as a wake up call to begin aligning ourselves completely with His purposes and will as we go forward. Exposure can be a good thing as we look at hard truths, beginning with our own hearts as well as within the church!