Two 2020’s

My last note asked the question, “Where do we go from here?” (see Dec 30 note). Going into 2020, everything was normal, and life was moving along at a steady, doable, pleasing, and might I say, easy pace. Until the word “coronavirus” surfaced and started grabbing headlines.

We, like most people. “brushed” aside the thought of not being ready for what is now known as COVID-19. We assumed the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control had a plan to curtail any virus out there. We were wrong! The year 2020 might need to be labeled 2020 BC (Before Corona) and 2020 AC (After Corona). March 8, 2020 was the last time I preached to my full congregation in our sanctuary. Sunday, March 15, I preached for the last time to anyone sitting in the seats in the sanctuary. On Monday the executive orders started flying for the president, governor, and mayor on restricting the number of people that would be considered safe to gather as this virus spread. That number was ten (10).

It was at that moment that God changed every priority in at least 95% of churches worldwide (only my opinion on that %). Regardless, it changed my priorities on church life and the agendas I had set to begin to accomplish for the next three years. It was like a scene from Forrest Gump when Lt. Dan asked Forrest while they were trying to figure out how to catch shrimp “So where is this God of yours?” To which we hear, “Right then, God showed up.” Everything changed for Forrest and LT Dan when God showed up. Everything has changed and continues to change now that God has shown up and reminded us as the church to see and do the Great Commandments (Love God, Love your neighbor).

We were working our vineyard and beginning to get “messy” when all this happened. We were making plans on how to best utilize some grant money to help us in the revitalization process. But God interrupted our plans and is reminding us, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Is 55:8–9, NKJV).

We have not met together now for a month; everything is now streaming live online. A project we were slowly working on, but it was only on simmer on the back burner. God moved it to the big front burner and turned the knob to high. He moved us from no streaming to fully up and running in four days. Yes, there were hiccups on March 22, but that is because social media was not prepared for thousands of churches to “go live” at 10:30 AM (Eastern Daylight Time) and the bandwidth could not handle it all. This too was corrected by the next Sunday. People and businesses were adapting as fast as they could and in the best manner they could to keep moving forward.

So, the new “where do we go from here?’ answer is, forward with God. Church will not be the same again, we have entered the “digital / virtual” church age. We must not return to the status quo we were enveloped in that became a horrible stench in the nostrils of God. If we do, we have missed a part of God’s message to the church. On average we were having 85 attend church this year. In three weeks, we are seeing over 300 “attend” church with us on a weekly basis. Church is not about “numbers”, but it is about souls. God has shown us the way to spread the gospel to the nations and reminds us it must be done outside the four walls of a building.

This [COVID-19] will pass. Let us not let God pass us by because we refuse to move forward with Him so that we can return to the “church we prefer” in 2020 BC.

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