Recently I heard some pastors begging the government to lift the ban on numbers in Sunday service because their congregations don’t have access to reliable internet so they cannot move to online services. This is true for many congregations in the informal settlements and lower income areas. I am a proponent of online services and ministry, but I am also aware that not everyone has the same kind of access.
The pastors plea was so passionate plea I haven’t forgotten it.
The thing that keeps swirling in my mind is that businesses have adapted, individuals have adapted but the faith community are struggling to adapt. Does it mean that faith is so static that it cannot shift or what is it?
My friends in the mainline churches tell me that the elements of communion are holy and must be kept in certain spaces and containers so unless we are in church we cannot take communion. On the other hand, the evangelicals say we can use bread and juice at home and many have continued taking communion without fail.
Can we evolve? Can we shift with the times? I am not saying letting go of our faith, No. I am talking about finding ways to meet the needs of the community in the prevailing circumstances.
Recently I listened to a speaker talking about how they have grown their congregation more that 400% during the pandemic. I heard another story about a church in the village where the pastor focused on building the leaders who went out to help others start weekly home fellowships and the congregation had grown exponentially.
So I asked myself, why can’t we all simplify?
Even though it sounds simplistic these two stories caught my ear because both congregations found a way to grow and thrive despite and because of the circumstances. Several things stand out for me:
- Get smaller: reduce the size of the contact groups and let people really get to know each other, study the word, pray together and rise.
- Be consistent: meet often and keep it simple. A prayer meeting, a bible study, a conversation, a time for accountability
- Teach, teach, teach: Can you imagine when a pastor trains his or her key leaders well, not to speak the doctrine of the church, but to love God and pursue him diligently. You see the thing about personal engagement and pursuit, there is a lower likelihood of confusion and destruction.
- Model: Paul says, ‘…follow me as I follow Christ.’ This means that when we develop our relationship with the Father, he provides a clear pathway to walk an it becomes possible for us to model it for others in a way that will showcase Him without too many word or works.
I dare say that when we give the people the right direction and help them to know God and understand His word by reading and studying the scripture, prayer, meditation and the teaching of his servants, they will grow.
I believe it is time to move past the usual things we always did and learn to experience God in the very places we are. Too many of us still think we must go to a building to pray, read the word and meditate.What happened to just being with God wherever we are? Why can’t we just sit under a tree listening to the wind, birds etc and just experience his presence? Why cant we just sit together, read the word and share what we are learning? Or just sit quietly and pray together or just meditate and allow God to work in us?
God is always with us and if we all choose to seek Him, we will find Him when we seek Him with ALL our heart. Let’s pray for a hunger and thirst for God like never before. Let’s pointeach other to the cross and presenceof God.
Let us grow in relationship with God.