Re-Imagine the post-“MEvangelical” Church
Churches are beginning to Re-Emerge from Covid-19. They are beginning to re-gather for worship, re-group for discipleship, and re-deploy for mission. As this happens pastors need to know church members are asking more fundamental questions about the philosophy of church life than they did prior to the pandemic. Church members are asking what do we do, why do we it, how do we it, and is there meaning in doing it?
Pastors must RE-IMAGINE their ministries as they Re-Emerge from the pandemic. Here are the 3 most important things pastors and churches will need to Re-Imagine.
First, Christians are longing for a CULTURE OF COMMUITY. The isolation the pandemic created has resulted in a deep longing for community. Pastors and churches must recognize that superficiality and going through the motions will not be enough to quench the thirst of the human heart’s desire for relationships.
Churches that emphasize the human relationships side of ministry will be the new “seeker” movement of the post-covid church experience. The Community “SEEKER” movement will become the strongest tie to a church -more than theology and more than programs. People of every generation are longing for interaction with others and there is no other organization in the world better equipped to satisfy these God-given longings of the human heart than the church. The church gathered will mean more to its members today than it has in the last 50 years. Honesty, vulnerability, and openness will be hallmarks of the church that creates this culture of community.
Second, Christians are longing for COMPENTENCY OF LEADERSHIP. Pastors who have high levels of competency in the primary functions of biblical leadership will “shine like stars in the Universe.” The entertainment based culture of pastoral leadership and the celebrity pastor in the pastor centric culture of many churches has been exposed during the pandemic. Many Christians have been repulsed by the antics of the “me-centered ministry” that is often on display in “MEvangelical” Christianity.
The church and especially individual church members are looking for competency based leadership. Pastors who have a deep and rich theological understanding of Scripture, philosophy and ethics will thrive as they answer the deepest questions that people have been asking during the pandemic. Pastors who shepherd the human heart and provide soul-care for people nurturing them back to spiritual, emotional, and relational health will be celebrated. Pastors who lead with competency and who are able to assess the current state of the ministry and reposition the ministry in light of the new realities they are facing, will flourish. These three competencies will help many church ReCover what they have lost during the pandemic.
Third, every church and church member in the post-covid culture is looking for CLARITY OF PURPOSE.
Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist, a Holocaust survivor, and the founder of a school of psychotherapy focused on our search for meaning. In his later years he sought to understand the central human motivation for living. This is often referred to as logotherapy. Logotherapy is based on the philosophy that striving for meaning in life is the primary, most powerful motivational driving force in humans. Frankl believed, meaning was determined by what we love.
The ultimate goal for which we can aim is not power, money, pleasure, or fame – it is love. It is the tender and passionate affection for another. It is the deep appreciation and outward expression of care. It is the sacrificial interest to bring pleasure to others. To love is the highest goal to which we can aim. It captures our imagination and awakens our heart for a promise and hope awaiting us in the future.
It is in a love for God expressed in worship, prayer and devotion that will clarify our spiritual purpose. It is our love for others expressed through care, compassion, and encouragement that will re-focus us in our mission. It is our love of self, rightly viewed as a beloved child and creation of God that will rid us of “MEvangelical” Christianity. It is purpose found in the love of God, the love of others and the love of self that will help pastors, churches, and each of us as individuals to Re-Imagine what is next for the church.
If you would like to learn more about these and other issues facing the church in a post-covid world visit the Corpus website at www.corpusvitae.org.