When we started this series three months ago, we knew that some shifts were needed to not just survive but thrive as churches in this changed Covid landscape. Since then we’ve seen more than ever that this is truly a time to dream big, a time to unify the global church, and a time to move!
Unexpected things have happened to those who were willing to take risks and embrace God’s Spirit as it led through this changing landscape. Generations from now, people will look back on the Global Church’s responses to Covid-19 and see both our successes and failures.
As Patrick O’Connell, Global Director of NewThing, wrote at the very beginning of this blog series:
“In the 1980s, R.E.M released “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It.’ This song became one of my favorites, and I have listened to it hundreds of times since then. It goes like this:
It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.
It is not the end of the world, but it is the end of the world as we know it. Let me say that again: it’s the end of the world as we know it. And I really do feel fine. In fact, I think the future is full of hope and opportunity for the Church!
Crisis brings opportunity and this crisis has changed everything. And I do mean…everything. Society, governments, and businesses will never be the same. And yes, this has also changed the Church.
We must face that reality, however much we would want to shirk from it. The old is gone, the new has come. There will be no going back to ‘normal.’ Be sure, we will re-normalize to a degree. But the normal we once knew is gone.”
We’ve seen how true this is! It has been the end of the world as we knew it – the last 9 months of this global crisis has seen so many changes in how we think about church, organize church, and ultimately be the church! Crisis has brought opportunities, countries have grown and changed, policies have changed, old norms are thrown out, and new solutions were found.
The more we’ve stared this crisis in the face, armed with prayer and ancient wisdom, the more we’ve seen God show up and the Spirit lead us. As part of that prayer process at NewThing we identified 5 strategic moves for the Church to grow the Kingdom:
Shift 1: Evaluation – Nehemiah 1
Like Nehemiah when he arrived into the devastated Jerusalem, we must assess and triage. Read more about Shift 1.
Shift 2: Digitalization – Acts 2
Like the Acts 2 church, we must connect everyone to one another using whatever technology we have available. Read more about Shift 2.
Shift 3: Mobilization – Matthew 28
Like the early disciples, we must mobilize the body of Christ. Read more about Shift 3.
Shift 4: Collaboration – John 17
Like Jesus prayed, the Church needs to embrace the Great Collaboration. Read more about Shift 4.
Shift 5 : Multiplication – Acts 1:8
Like the early Church, we are called to be a rapidly multiplying movement of Christ-followers on mission. Read more about Shift 5.
And these shifts aren’t a ‘one and done’ process. We will probably shift through these 5 for decades to come. It could look different in each season, maybe in one season we need to move from Shift 1 to Shift 3 then Shift 4, then back to Shift 1 and up to Shift 5, but that’s the beauty of how the Spirit wants to move – flexibly and in sync with the Church.
The Spirit is ready to take the lead, laying the path for the Church to follow. This Covid-crisis has revealed newly to a whole generation of church leaders the importance of being in tune to follow because the opportunity has not ended.
We’ve always known that the Church is the light of the world because we represent not governments or countries, but a Kingdom that stretches around the world. The crisis flattened the world and the things we once let divide us, but the reality is that the Gospel is the good news once, now, and forever. We have a mandate to proclaim, collaborate, and love.
It’s Time to Dream Big!
It’s Time to Unify the Global Church!
AND it’s Time to Move!
Ultimately, we want to be people who lived with God’s church and God’s people always at the forefront. We want to blaze new paths, use new and ancient practices, and remain faithful to the call of God upon our lives to change our communities, our cities, and our world.
We can’t wait to see what God does in and through evaluation, digitalization, micro-churches, collaboration, and multiplication! Join us on this mission to continually find ways to help people find their way back to God as one unified global Church in a post-Covid world!