By now everyone is aware of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Whilst the immediate concerns are real and require wisdom, prayer and action by individuals, governments and organisations, I’m left thinking about the long term impact on society as a whole.
History teaches us that events large enough to impact and disrupt everyday life often lead to innovation and new ways of achieving the same or re-clarified objectives. No matter how painful at the time, these events pass but the long term legacy on behaviours and society often remains.
Right now we are in the early stages of witnessing the cancellation of events, adaptations to ways of working and a lot of people questioning what’s really essential. It’s times like these that force each of us to reflect on the core ideas that led us into our current ways of doing things.
As Christians and church members, we are not exempt from this current disruption. In fact, COVID-19 may strike right at the heart of event-centric churches.
The thought challenge here isn’t about the technicalities of how to stream services or add hand sanitisers to each row of chairs. Instead, it’s starting a bigger conversation around what it means to be the Church and how we can use this disruption to learn and discover new ways to achieve objectives and help more people than ever before.
Perhaps it is time for us to go back to basics, to look at things in different ways and help people everywhere experience new ways of knowing Jesus, growing in their faith and reaching others with the good news.
What will we learn as we explore short term solutions to the current challenges? Perhaps it will be that it’s more effective to connect a non-believer into an online community. Or perhaps our current views around helping people encounter Jesus will be challenged when we achieve it outside of our church events.
When we created yesHEis, we didn’t create a digital means of faith sharing with this type of situation in mind, but we do recognise there are always new ways for people to personally share Jesus.
COVID-19 is just another reminder that we, the Church, have other means by which to engage in meaningful conversations about Jesus, irrespective of physical limitations and restrictions.
When all this passes, we can’t expect things to go back to how they were before. After Christians experience streamable church online, will they ever return to their Sunday seat? I certainly haven’t visited a bank in years now that I have greater access and experience less inconvenience online.
Will our short term solutions disrupt our own perspectives of seeing digital as an ‘add on’? Will there be a fundamental shift in how we view people, church gatherings and the discipleship of believers?
These are all unknowns, but they should not stop us from leaning into these moments of opportunity, allowing disruption to reframe the core ideas of being the church rather than spending precious energy on the preservation of historical ways.
So let’s lift our eyes to this incredible opportunity of access to people and, with faith and trust in God, allow ourselves to be led into a new season of more than we could ever dream or imagine.
This article was originally published here.