Plan A, at our house for more than 30 years, for husband hair maintenance has been Carolyn and a hair cutting kit. Last month, we could not find the kit. I have some theories but will save them for another time. Two options presented themselves: stay indoors till the scissors are found or find a Plan B.
For me, Plan B at such a time is local sourcing. While never possessing “ready cash”, I know that some vendor in my community needs my business – I can be a blessing even on a budget. So, I chose Tony off line and walked there. Tony was long on Chinese short on English, but we communicated through the pictures on the wall. The result was unexpected to say the least – like most men, I couldn’t wait for Carolyn to see it.
She would hate it; the box would never be lost again. Naturally, she loved it … In the next two weeks, there was a lot of public time for me. Responses ranged from: “my wife just told me it was really you” to “gotta be honest, hate it.” In between, there were some, “you look so much thinner and younger.” Guess the real me was fatter and older.
March 2020 brought an end to Plan A at your church and mine. The pages of this magazine have chronicled various Plan B’s, C’s, etc. The limits of BFC OneVoice space have kept some articles securely in the inbox. There are articles on technology, timely outreaches, and the Lord’s Supper online. The problem sometimes was, that by the next issue, our issues had changed. Comparisons between churches were a part of the regional dialogue on a regular basis. In local churches, ours and others, debates were rough at times.
Conversations in the Christian community eventually turned to the future. Would there be a return to normalcy or would there be a new normal? With better theology, we might realize that, from God’s point of view, March 2020 is a part of the regular cycle begun in the garden called Eden. I am not saying that Covid is a punishment or an attack from the enemy. However, I am fairly certain that life in this world is not the norm intended for people created in the image of God. We were designed for joy and abundant life. Then came the fall.
The Communications Committee will continue to offer good material on the current situation as often as we can. If you have something to contribute to the fellowship send it (firstname.lastname@example.org) – things that have worked, things that have not worked, or things you are going to try. In this editorial, I want to contribute to the discussion something I feel is very important for all of us – big churches, small churches and everything in between.
Let’s assume that we all can agree that good ideas come from good thinking. Christians will generally agree that good thinking comes from good listening to the Word of God with the help of the Holy Spirit. Can we also agree that the church is a gathered community known as the Body of Christ that can expect good ideas to develop as we all, each one, bring our gifts to the discussion? Note here: all ideas deserve a hearing, but our ideas are not in competition; they are pieces of a puzzle revealing a beautiful picture of the glory of God. Look for the place your piece fits. Better, look for the place where the piece provided by your brother or sister in Christ fits – point them to it.
Now, as I wrap this up, I want to give you what God has recently given to me. Stepping back a moment, let me ask you to seriously consider the question: where was God on March 2020? Or this question: where has God been ever since then? Is the Head of the Church a victim of circumstance or just on vacation? Has the Comforter, His onsite representative, been absent for almost two years? Let me suggest that if your answer is negative to these questions, perhaps the conversation needs a new framework.
The older framework can be a backward-looking approach: what have we always done and why would we change it? It’s younger relative is often some version of: what is everybody else doing? Don’t we need to do something completely new? The older question fails to admit that maybe what we always did was not effective for the Gospel? The newer question (which is hardly as new as some think, trust this old man) is often taken up with methods. Methods, my friends, come and go.
Here’s a better question, saints. Since God is alive and at work in His church, we can reframe both questions in a way that honors Him. If God is still on the throne, if Christ is still the head of His church, and the Holy Spirit is the power in the heart of the church, then… Isn’t the best guiding question we can ask: what is Jesus doing in His Church?
Trace out the path of His footprints and follow. The answers for your local church will likely be different than for mine. However, it is not the writers of growth books or the churches two communities over that are in charge. Remember, it was to the local church that Paul wrote:
And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6