Matthew 12:36 – I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak
Over the past few months, I’ve been learning a lot about what ministry is like but even more so about who I am in ministry.
And the words have failed me.
I have about 20 blog posts that I have started and haven’t finished.
Because the words have failed me.
The past few months have filled my head and heart with a lot of different thoughts and feelings.
And, yet, the words have failed me.
I have gone back and forth between the importance of social distancing and the desire to be close-up with people I know and love.
I have switched several times between the importance of masks and thinking they are just something that is just a false sense of security.
I’ve been seeing the effect of this pandemic on the church I am a leader at and churches around the country and worldwide.
But I can’t find the words to share what is truth during this time.
I only have emotion.
So, in a different twist, I would like to type my prayer to God here that I am asking Him right now.
God, I give you the glory. But right now I am at a loss for words. I am at a loss for truth. I pray for the discernment to know what to say to a community that needs words of wisdom. A community that hasn’t been through what we are currently going through. A community that is going through the same emotions that I am going through. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Psalm 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
When 2020 started (I wonder how many books, blog posts and social media sentences will be starting with that), I was a little over a year-old in full-time ministry. Our church was growing. We were above 200 and seeing more come every day. We had growing ministries and several people serving throughout the church.
My job is Director of Ministries. Things were going well. It was great seeing the ministries grow and the people get involved.
Our growth groups were growing as well. We were seeing a very high percentage of our attenders going to growth group and connecting with people outside of the Sunday service. People were becoming what our mission statement says, “bringing people to Christ and developing them into fully mature, reproducing followers of Jesus.”
But now, we look at about 60 coming to church as success. We look at the live stream numbers and see how many views we had or comments. How many subscribers did we grow. We don’t even know how to truly disciple people during this time in our history.
It is as if God has taken what we know of church and thrown out the model.
The one thing that keeps coming back to me is that this isn’t a time of trial for the church but a time of judgment.
If this is judgment on the church, then that means we need to become the church that God needs us to become.
The book of Hebrews can be filled with hope for us. Originally written for Jewish Christians who were getting ready to go through a time of intense persecution who were feeling worn down by the time they were in and they were beginning to revert to their old ways.
In America, the church has never been more divided. In the past, we were divided on issues such as grace and works or infant baptism and believer’s baptism or views on women in ministry. Today, the church is divided over whether we should follow the guidance of the government to protect those who are at most risk by a virus that has a history of killing those at risk. We are divided on whether we should wear a face mask because, as Americans, it is more important that we have our freedoms than it is that we care for the least of these.
But what do you expect from a country that believes a political leaning is based in Christianity.
Is our freedom really in what the government promises us? Or is it in Christ?
If we as Christians find our freedom and hope in our government, then we have abandoned the One who gives us true freedom and hope.
We have pastors and churches who are leading their sheep into a belief that church can only happen if they listen to them live on a Sunday morning. We have pastors who are suing the government by saying that they have lost their rights. We have pastors and churches who believe less about the shepherding of the one than they do about the leading of the masses.
When we lose sight of what it means to be a shepherd, then we miss the point of Christ and His church.
So whether the argument is about immigration (by the way, Jesus would help the sojourner), or equality of the races (by the way, we are all made in the image of God, regardless of color of skin or place of birth), or whether we should completely close down churches for a time to save a population that is at risk (by the way, if the only way you can worship God is on Sunday morning in a large church service, then you have missed the point of the Gospel), we need to unify around the Word. We need to unify around the Christ who saves us. We need to consider others as better than ourselves and allow our pride to be crucified on the cross of Christ.
So I found the words. Or more, I believe they were given to me to say.
In a time of judgment, it is a necessity to seek the Christ of eternity rather than come up with more and more plans, programs, and ideas.
In a time of judgment, it is a time to seek God through His Word and act in a way that honors Him alone.
In THIS time of judgment, may all the words we say be seasoned with salt but chosen only with discernment and wisdom.
Colossians 4:6 – Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.