12 Positive Shifts in the Church and Culture During the Coronavirus by JOSEPH MATTERA for Charisma News
There have been many tragedies, such as sickness, death and downturns in the economy, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Amid these many tragedies, there have also been many positive shifts that can make a permanent impact. I am not a Semi-Gnostic Dualist; therefore, my theology allows for God being involved in this pandemic (whether God initiated it or merely allowed it is not the subject of this brief article). For those who are learners and adaptors, I believe the church and culture will never be the same. It is not the “learned,” but those who continue to learn, who will inherit the earth!
Furthermore, while many believers are praying for revival and spiritual awakening, our initial response should be introspection and repentance. Ignoring this present God-given opportunity, which should bring about a purging of sinfulness, will result in superficial Christianity. It’s vital for the church to experience a permanent, pervasive transformation both individually and systemically.
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12 Potential Positive Shifts:
- The church should no longer depend upon crowds in a building. For too long, the term “church” was equated to what took place within the four walls of a building on Sunday mornings. The success of a congregation was primarily gauged by how many people were present for service. We even call the facilities that are being used for service, “church.” The coronavirus pandemic has proven that the church can no longer be defined by a single Sunday morning service. Many churches have learned how to stay connected and serve their community despite prohibitive lockdown laws. Churches that have refused to adapt will have a hard time surviving in this season.
- With restrictions on travel, the focus has to localize. Now that there are restrictions on travel and public gatherings, many leaders, such as myself, have had to focus our efforts locally. We are spending significant time at home, expending hours of energy on our biological and spiritual families within our geographic proximity. All genuine systemic change begins locally and, in my opinion, this reset has been a good thing.
- People have to connect in small groups. There has been a lot of strategic planning centered on keeping people connected through small groups. Before the ban, groups of 10 or less were meeting. They continue to meet via Zoom video and other online resources. Many churches are contacting each individual in their congregation to make sure they are OK. With less emphasis on the large crowd, many church initiatives have collapsed down to personal touch rather than programmatic persuasion.
- People have to depend upon one another for resources. During these days, there are many great stories of heroism, altruism and philanthropy. Every crisis brings out the worst, such as survivalists hoarding and fighting over food, but it also maximizes magnanimity in humanity. For instance, people are checking in on the elderly, serving free coffee and food to health care workers, and demonstrating kindness to neighbors. This deconstruction of independence and isolation in communities is catalyzing many relationships.