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Don’t #ReopenChurch … #Reimagine Your Church

Phil Miglioratti • The #ReimagineFORUM

 

Many Pastors are afraid of what might happen when they reopen their church schedule. Members missing. New (strange?) persons who don’t fit the congregation’s homogeneous profile. Reduction in giving. A dissatisfaction with traditional patterns or a disconnecting from old programs. New expectations of leadership. Uncharted territory.

 

In truth, every Christian leader knows the Church can never be “reopened” because the Church is the Body of Christ, a 24/7/365 living, breathing entity. We can’t “close” down. Jesus told his disciples: “Don’t yield to fear. All you need to do is to keep on believing” (Mark 5:36). The Amplified Bible’s version: “Do not be afraid; only keep on believing [in Me and my power].”

 

But, even though we all experience fear, it is not to be feared. Fear can actually be beneficial as it alerts us to a problem that must not be ignored or an enemy that must be conquered. It gets our attention by screaming through body, soul, and spirit: “Do something. Now!” Our biggest mistake is trying to silence or outrun fear rather than heeding the wise words of scripture to keep focused on the Lord of life, the Chief Shepherd of the Church. As Pastor Andy Stanley would say: “Fear. Less.” I would add: “Fear wisely.”

 

Fear less because “…we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.” Romans 8:28 (The Passion Translation)

 

Fear wisely, congregation, because “…we are convinced that every detail of our church is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good through the mission and ministry of our church, for we are his community who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.” Romans 8:28 (my paraphrase)

 

Fear less. Fear wisely. Refuse a return to business as usual. Resist the temptation to merely reopen your church. Instead, reimagine how a church lives out faith, hope, and love in the shadow of a pandemic. Invite the Holy Spirit to take you (pastors, lead teams, affinity groups, congregations) on a journey of rethinking by:

  1. Assessing how the new normal impacts the calling and gifting of your congregation
  2. Blessing your constituents but also the diverse peoples in your community
  3. Confessing your fear and declaring your faith to move into the future

 

Make a fearless assessment of the new normal.

  • Have we made meaningful connections with every member? Attender?
  • Have we developed systems to identify practical needs of our families? Our community?
  • Are we identifying the degree of difficulty each person/family has experienced?
  • Have we surveyed our membership to know how to serve their:
    • Practical needs?
    • Emotional pains?
    • Spiritual status?
  • Gather (virtual, if not safe to meet in person) leadership to prayerfully discern:
    • Strengths – what new capabilities have we discovered in our people?
    • Weaknesses – in what ways has our ministry capacity decreased?
    • Opportunities – which needs or new options are we facing?
    • Resources – what undiscovered, unexpected resources have surfaced?
    • Risks/Rewards – have we counted the cost of making changes? Doing nothing?

 

Begin to daily ask for the mind of Christ so that you (personally but also with congregational ministers) discern how to reimagine how to develop:

  • Experiential worship
  • Enthusiastic (“in; theos/God”) fellowship
  • Equipped leadership
  • Extreme discipleship
  • Extravagant stewardship
  • Engaging citizenship

 

Pursuing a Spirit-led, Scripture-fed journey may lead you to begin a new chapter of ministry. Your congregation or team may be called upon to make a radical change or to recalibrate systems or reorient programs. Focus on Jesus. Fear less. Fear wisely. Follow Jesus… to the places where Almighty God is already at work; an invitation to serve with our Savior.

 

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Why it is I get the sense that when CV19 is over and "church" is re-imagined, the end result will be "business as usual?" The answer is in the next question: What is it that has been done differently while "church" has been "closed?" Services have been held although there has been no one in the congregation. Music has been played although there has been no one in the congregation. Messages have been preached although there has been no one in the congregation. In other words, nothing has been done differently except the congregation has been relocated. It has been "business as usual" even though the congregation is not in the same building where these events have taken place. "Church" has not been re-imagined.

I recently asked several who had sheltered at home: "Why don't you invite a few friends over to study your Bible?" Three times the answer was: "The PASTOR has not allowed that." My thought after that was of an organizational chart with the Pastor at the top, Assistant/Associate Pastors beneath him, Deacons beneath them, and congregants beneath them. Jesus is either seen as an assistant to the Pastor or not even on the chart.

To me, "re-imagining church" needs to start with Pastors meeting with Assistant/Associate Pastors. They in turn meet with Deacons who in turn meet with congregants. These meetings are not large, no more that six or seven. These meetings are not "I'm in charge," but "Let us learn together." This will place each individual on the same plane of learning, growing, and movement toward maturity. Eventually, as each individual takes responsibility for facilitating, teaching, and training in a variety of lessons, they will be evidence of a "church" re-imagined for business will not be as usual.

Hello Dave, and thank you for a strong reply.

"To me, "re-imagining church" needs to start with Pastors meeting with Assistant/Associate Pastors" is exactly the kind o response I hope comes from leaders who consider reimagining their ministry.

Spirit-led. Scripture-fed.

Otherwise, whatever we change will merely be a change, rather than a fresh step of obedience on the path of the journey,

Phil 

Phil,

Great word, brother!  I have been burdened since the beginning of this journey that pastors and churches are spending more time trying to determine how to keep on doing what they have been doing in a different way than pressing into God and allowing Him to show them how He wants them to move forward.  It is time to gather the leaders, spend time with God over an open Bible, listen intently to His still small voice, and reimagine church.  

Than you friend ... hoping The Rooftop will help many leaders #ReimaginePRAYER!

Phil, a book that may be helpful to reimagine church, is Something needs to change: a call to make your life count in a world of urgent need, by David Platt.

This book is for everybody - pastors and church members.

Publisher: Multnomah 

Available on Christianbook.com and amazon.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love and grace.

Please give us the mind of Christ. Help us to hear His voice clearly and show us how to follow Him in this very unique time in the history of the world, how to be the church and the Bride that You desire for Your Son. We depend on Your Holy Spirit to make us willing and able and to strengthen and to protect all who belong to You.

In the Name of Jesus Christ whose banner over us is love, because of His blood that He shed for us, amen.

 

grateful for your reply; especially your prayer ...

Love Thy Neighbor Grocery Delivery

“It’s such a loving thing for us to just share the most basic commodity of all, food, with each other. I think it’s significant that when Jesus is loving his neighbor, he’s providing food for them. He’s usually sitting at a table, having a hospitable presence. I know we can’t sit at a table with each other yet, but I’m hoping there would be a follow up where at some point we would sit at a table together somewhere as neighbors.”

- Pastor Kimberley Morrrison, Park Street Church

To kick off the “Love Thy Neighbor” campaign, we are launching a program in which Christians throughout the Greater Boston area can assist families with basic food needs. This program is focused on families and households who have someone that tested positive for COVID-19 by providing them with a simple bag of groceries. Working in partnership with Massachusetts COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative (CTC) at the..., the program puts each volunteer in contact with a particular family within the person’s designated zip code. The volunteers then have 48 hours to purchase and deliver groceries to their assigned families. You are encouraged to place a card with encouraging words of hope in your delivery! Our goal is to serve 20 people per day, or 100 per week!

How Can You Help?

To get started, we need to identify individuals who are able and willing to purchase and deliver food in a timely manner within their community. If you would like to be involved in this beautiful and much needed initiative, please fill out the Registration Form and help us spread the word! >>>CLICK/strong>

#ReimaginePRAYER...

I'm excited to tell you that we have prayer Tuesday-Friday at 7PM. We average between 15-20 people calling in each night. In comparison, that's about the amount of people that would attend on a Wednesday night. Many of the people calling into prayer never attended Wednesday night prayer. Several people have stepped up to help me lead it. David Morris our Deacon chair does Tuesday nights and Elder Doug takes on a couple nights a week. It's been an excellent way to keep the church connected and moving forward in this challenging season. God is good!!! 

Blessings, Pastor Mark      
                    

                                                          a real church of the real God to the real world...


May 26, 2020

Hello Phil,

I hope you enjoyed Sunday service. Special thanks to Noel Irias, Sabrina Stark, Philip Allen, and Tony Anderson for making it happen. Thanks for all of your positive comments. It was an awesome service. If you didn't get a chance to hear it you can go to YouTube.com and put Uptown Baptist Church in the search bar to look up the message.
 
Our prayer schedule is Tuesday-Friday at 7:00PM. Please email me your prayer requests ahead of time so we can be sure to pray for them
 
To join by phone you can dial in by calling 1.408-418-9388 and enter the Access code: 629 239 750#. UBC Saints, please remember to call into the prayer meeting by 7:20pm. Otherwise, you may get locked out the meeting. Some of you have experienced this so please call in early.   
 
Lastly, let's finish the month of May strong. You can drop off your tithe in the mail slot at the church or mail it in. You can also give electronically through our Pushpay App. God’s work continues. Have a blessed week in the Lord. Pastor Mark 
 
Are you passionate about learning how the New Testament church grew, and how you might catalyze those lessons in your ministry?

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We'd love to connect with you about forming an on-line Ephesiology Mini-Lab in your community. Drop me an email if you are interested.

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