...The days of come, sit, get full and go home are over. We are dawning a season of service, servants, and emissaries...
A friend of mine experienced two, identical, crushing blows - one after another. The first she weathered well, full of faith and hope, forecasting good things into her future. After the second I remember her slumping in her seat, dejected, mortified at the prospect of rebuilding. “Why!?” She whispered, “Why again?” A very wise woman, intimately privy to her situation, interjected “Let’s not ask why, but how?” The first woman looked at her confused. She continued “Maybe God didn’t like how you rebuilt the first time and instead of letting it prosper and flourish he dismantled it right away. Let’s ask him how he wants to rebuild.”
I feel a shaking, a shifting, has occurred. I believe the pandemic was a tool, used by God, to unsettle, disrupt, the church. Like Jesus with the whips in the outer courts, our “same same” was disturbed, jarred, and our viewpoints and perceptions caused to shift.
I see God repairing the church’s foundation; and readying to build.
In Ezra a foundation was laid and there were two responses, you can read about it in chapter 3:10-12: “The people could not distinguish the sounds of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people… the sound was heard far away”.
The ones who had witnessed the former temple, the former glory, the old, were heartbroken at the new. They were distraught and had difficulty accepting it. It didn’t measure up. It was not palatial, elegant, refined and glorious. It was crude, elementary and basic.
I feel the same is happening now. There is a new thing rising and the “old guard” is trying to continue on as before… but God is doing a new thing. The modern-day mega-church with multiple services, programs and insular focus is a thing of the past. The new model is one of outward facing, “come get fed and go minister” mindset. The days of come, sit, get full and go home are over. We are dawning a season of service, servants, and emissaries.
Building something new is hard work. There are blueprints, plans, but they are altered and changed as personalities, people, congregants join the crew. Staying intimate with the designer, the architect is essential. The church has been stripped to its foundations - some of the congregations did not withstand the quake, they were decimated and destroyed (Terry Nance reported 1 in 5 churches - 20 percent! - have permanently shut their doors). The majority did withstand and are in the process of reopening/rebuilding… but what to rebuild?
Like my friend, so long ago, we stare at a foundation and face rebuilding. What we rebuild is up to us. If we build with Him and focus on His Kingdom, His wants, His desires, His opinions and purposes it will last; it will withstand any future shaking and shock. I feel we should seek and know before we build. Church in this latter age will be very different looking than the previous. It will be glorious.