As the church takes seriously that we are living in a worldwide pandemic – an Exodus of change for our churches, what will we do now? For some of us it feels like bondage: being stuck at the banks of the Red Sea. For others it is wandering in the wilderness and struggling to build a new life in God’s promised land. Does this reality apply to your church? Where is God leading and how will we follow?
For church leaders who see the need for profound change in the church. Complacency — even denial — is their greatest challenge. What steps shall leaders take to create readiness? First of all, expressing God’s dream for creation and of a faithful future for the church. Without first painting an initial picture of God’s dream — God’s vision of wholeness and reconciliation in a fragmented world — the church’s focus will remain limited to institutional problems and how to solve them.
Church leaders discerning God’s call are looking for ways to cultivate a missional community to proclaim and embody the Gospel in the midst of changing circumstances. Recognizing that there is no quick fix for what is needed by churches seeking to become missional communities in a changed context, church leaders are seeking to help their churches get ready. Churches that are not ready will not make the journey. When churches become ready, nothing will stop them. Readiness is that moment when congregation and leaders become willing to expose themselves to learning something new. It is willingness to take a risk, to name the gap that exists between the way things are and what they believe is God’s vision for the church; it is receptivity to the movement of the Spirit.
Questions for Discussion:
1. What are the most compelling reasons for transformation and renewal in your church?
2. What factors and forces will need to be addressed to get ready for a transformation journey?
By Ray Schulte