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NPPN • Pastor/Poet Laureate: "Ministry Reimagined" + A Chat with Greg...

Ministry Reimagined 
​Greg Asimakoupoulos
Our world has changed.
So too the means 
to reach the least and lost.
I’m virtually beside myself
midst COVID’s mounting cost.

I miss the handshakes and the hugs
of those within my flock.
I long for times within their homes.
But, hey, we’d best take stock.
Has “doing church” as we have done
been one more causality?
Has COVID claimed
both lives and plans?
That's what it seems to me.

Must we rethink the bottom line
of what we’re all about?
Can we discern what’s time to go 
and what still has the clout?

Is online worship here to stay?
Are chat rooms now the norm?
Will YouTube music take the place of praise on Sunday morn? 

What’s next will likely be a mix
of virtual and not.
We must make peace 
with our new world.
Accept what COVID’s wrought.

I’m guessing what is past is past.
It seems “new wine“ awaits.
So while there’s time let’s find new skins
before it is too late.
A Chat with Greg Asimakoupoulos
  • It seems many pastors are uncertain how to shape ministry in the midst of the pandemic ...
    Yes. How can we not be uncertainty in the midst of something we’ve never lived through before? But uncertain times are the very context for discovering flavors of God’s grace we never knew existed before. Uncertain times provide the perfect backdrop for living by faith. When it comes to shaping our ministry, it’s an opportunity to call audibles and try new things.

  • For some, fear of change or fear of changing and failing loom large ...
    These are natural fears. Especially when meeting a budget is “literally” the bottom line. Because most pastors are not innovators, throwing out the playbook in order to survive goes against our nature. We’d rather maintain mediocrity than risk failure by taking a chance on something new.

  • How would you counsel a pastor to proceed? First step? Ultimate destination?
    I would counsel a pastor to proceed cautiously and in community. Seek out other colleagues who are facing similar challenges in their churches. Humbly admit your concerns and fears. Resist the tendency to compare your situation with theirs. One of the blessings about COVID has been the opportunity to see what other churches are doing from the comfort of your home. Not only have our members been seeing what’s out there, pastors have as well. And the result is a new sense of the diversity of gifts and opportunities. First steps could be seeing what others are doing in terms of combination virtual and in-person worship and evaluating what would work in your setting. Ultimately, the destination for which you should be aiming is a hybrid form of ministry that reimagines ministry in a post-COVID world. It’s a world of ministry that will require new wineskins to accommodate a life-giving message that cannot be masked (even while we are).
Sheltering in Place

“Greg Asimakoupoulos has blessed readers with his poetry, Bible teaching, and humor. Greg has provided much needed hope and support to through the uncertain days of the coronavirus pandemic. “Sheltering in Grace” is a creative blending of COVID memories and reflections that will provide strength and encouragement for years to come.”
Terri Cunliffe President, Covenant Living Communities and Services

Sunday Rhymes and Reasons is a compilation of inspirational poetry by America's pastor/poet laureate, Greg Asimakoupoulos.
In this, his third volume of poetry, Pastor Greg paints word pictures that portray both the struggle and fulfillment that define a life of faith. His repertoire of rhymes celebrate rite-of-passage occasions like birth, baptism, marriage and death as well as the major holidays of the church and culture
It is a volume that illustrates the poet's love of words and of popular culture. The author dips his brush into a paint box of hubris, humor and honesty.

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I found Greg's thoughts quite provoking—exciting. He raised fundamental issues that Christians don't appear to have given thought to deeply: Unchanging Word in a changing world. Greg mentioned the certainty/uncertainty in people's response to the reality we all face. Really! But from birth to death, life is uncertain. And we live by faith (whether we understand it or not). So, if we attempt to "Reimagine" new ways or directions, we exclude the Holy Spirit and recourse to brain and brawn. This brings me to a thought I've been exploring with Scriptures lately—still grappling with it.

The Lord stated in Jn 17 that we're in the world but not part of it, meaning that our world is different from theirs. Does this suggest that changes in the physical world should not affect the way of Christian ministry? This is where the Holy Spirit comes in. Maybe we have been applying the world's models to ministry—maybe. In which case, adapting to the new reality will be an issue. The Lord is never at a loss on how to face "uncertainties." Every Christian ministry belongs to him. Hence: "I'm with you always?" In any strange development, the Lord knows the way out. I believe we will arrive at his way if, on our knees, we ask for a holistic understanding of the situation.

Thank you for sharing your feedback Celestine.

Allow me to clarify ... my use of the term "reimagine" is based totally on being Spirit-led and Scripture-fed. Not our fleshly or vain imaginations but on the leading-guiding-discerning we can only get from the Holy Spirit,
Phil
Curator

Thanks Phil,

I appreciate your clarification. We're on the same page. Bless you!

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