Strange Times for the Church
I am sure you have heard it said that we are living in "strange times", especially for the church. Most churches have been running for the past several weeks with no one in the seats. This has meant a huge adjustments for the staff as they pivoted their efforts to online services and reaching out through socially distant measures. The church's vacant pews have been a weekly reminder to the Pastors and church leaders that the people of God are not able to be where they belong.
Once the doors are open to gather the family of Christ again, there will be a collective call in all of Christendom; "Y'all come back now." (say that with a southern drawl)...Yet we do not know how the family of Christ will respond.
As much as the church staff has been affected by restrictions on worship gatherings, I do not think that is where the church will find the lasting affects of the pandemic. The lasting affects will be within the family and the home. Like it or not, we are creatures of habit; bound to our comforts and routines. And right now, our Sunday routines have been changed for a significant series of Sundays. Many of us are itching for the opportunity to return of the church building and worship corporately as before, but some of us have enjoyed the family time and the ease of the new Sunday morning routine in the home.
In any case, returning to corporate worship services will be an adjustment.
The New Normal
When you and your family are able to return, things will be different. Your church may have instituted a new sign-in policy or have new standards in the children's ministry. You may be asked to serve and give sacrificially because of unmet volunteer or financial needs. You also may find that attendance is down and it takes several weeks to see some of your favorite people return to Church.
Certainly new procedures and policies will bring with is it difficulties at first. However there is also good coming with the changes. New efforts around hygiene and cleanliness will only be beneficial. New forms of online content may offer new ways to be informed. Whether for good or ill, this hiatus from corporate worship will bring with is a new normal once we are able to meet more freely.
Your church will be doing all that they can to provide for you a safe and healthy worship experience. Support your leaders and prepare your family to adhere to and participate in all the new re-opening measures.
Y'all Come Back Now
This new normal will take some getting used to, but it is worth it. We are meant to be together. Christians are given the command to love one another, serve one another and be there for one another. We cannot do that from a distance.
Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Let our need for each other sink in. God has gathered a people to be a part of a kingdom that is much bigger than our own preferences and routines. When the Churches are free again to gather your family will have a choice; re-establish the Sunday routine by joining your brothers and sisters in worship or choose the relative comfort of the home by neglecting the people whom God has called you to fellowship with.
God is good and His people are excited to begin to gather again for corporate worship. To make the comeback smooth and the adjustment as pain free as possible, plan now with your family to "come back" to church and be excited to join your brothers and sisters as we gather to worship our King together again.