It is the beginning of October, the leaves are turning and wiry squirrels are stockpiling. Thanksgiving is quickly approaching; I’m not sure how the celebrations will look; maybe a smaller turkey.
We are seven months into the pandemic and the markets are unnerved, social customs rearranged, our places of education and work entirely changed.
The pandemic has revolutionized the church and altered the way we gather and worship. We may never go back to what we once knew. It is going to take a lot of effort to hold our churches together. The truth is that buildings are not the church; you and I are the church, living stones of God’s house.
I have three points I have observed that can help us stay connected.
First, use technology to stay connected to your church community. Churches have always used technology, the newest and the best. Whether ink on papyrus, stained-glass images, Gutenberg’s press, humming overhead projectors, and the big arrival of fax machines and a photocopier.
Technology has become part of the ecclesiastical landscape, let’s keep embracing the connection. Open your church email, watch the Facebook or Instagram update, try not to scroll past, and avoid becoming an island.
Secondly, livestream has now become a permanent part of church life.
Live streaming is a blessing to those unable to come to church; it is a beautiful gift, even with its glitches and fails.
The challenge is to be disciplined to worship and engage as it is too easy to move from a global megachurch to another megachurch.
But it is essential to stay committed to your local congregation. The church where your children were christened or dedicated, where they attended Sunday school, where you enjoyed friendships and fellowship, the list is endless.
Do not let the pandemic steal more from you than it already has.
Finally, God cares about people, not buildings; we are not a business. The church is made up of people so let us show grace and love — let’s be creative with our caring, we glorify God by loving our neighbour.
As a pastor, God will not ask me how many Facebook likes I get, or how many page views or streaming customers the church gained. He will ask, “Did you care for my sheep?”
He will ask us if we stepped in or stepped out when the pandemic of 2020 arrived. Let us keep communicating and stay connected; let us encourage one another.
While it takes effort, I do believe it will have eternal value.
Phil Collins is pastor at Willow Park Church in Kelowna.