Just got off a Zoom chat with a church planting pastor. He’s facing opportunities (and hazards) he never dreamt of, even a year ago.
The twin culture disruptors of COVID-19 and the move toward social justice for African Americans have changed his life, dramatically. Actually, they’re changing life for us all.
These are hundred-year events. Think about it—they’re still writing books about a pandemic that occurred more than a hundred years ago. And, as to social justice we’re looking at the possibility of righting wrongs have stood in the United States for centuries.
Start with the virus—my friend now speaks to nearly five times the audience that he did at this time last year. Technology coupled with social isolation catapulted him to a good place. Offerings are up too and that’s always welcome. He’s become a sort of mini-celebrity in his small town due to serving the poor during the epidemic. He even brings stuff like donuts to people who work in stores and fast food restaurants. This is one very nice guy!
As to social justice, as an African American of some stature the invitations are pouring in. He’s being asked to speak at online events recruited into online coaching groups with mostly white people who are sincerely interested in learning how to press into righteousness and the call to racial equality.
It’s Still about Jesus
All this is good if he doesn’t come down with a serious case of the virus we call “mission drift.”
Life will forever change for all of us because of the two upheavals going on right now. Please look to Jesus to make good out of the evil of the virus and to help us, as church leaders, find our voice in the storm of protests and recent declarations toward positive change. But, don’t let whatever good (or not so good) that you experience take you off your mark.
We must see the world in terms of spiritual warfare as Paul described it in Ephesians. As in any war, there are casualties and tragic losses. We’re struggling for the soul of mankind and cannot see it an any other light. People have died from the virus and bad things have accompanied legitimate protests. On the other hand, churches have found a megaphone in their online presence. And when public corporations pledge millions of dollars and changing business practices that is undeniably good, as is the pressure on communities to hold our systems and public servants more accountable.
Still, in the midst of whatever good we might enjoy or whatever pain we’ve suffered the mission is still to make disciples and multiply churches. The new normal aside, the task is still the same. Let’s keep the main thing…