Written by: Ron Luce
Article source: Stream.org
The sons of Issachar “understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do” (I Chronicles 12:32). Assuming we want to aspire to this level of prowess, how then are we to understand the Corona-moment we are in the midst of? What ought we to do?
Instead of a simple impulse response to the immediate situation, let’s back up and examine the larger implication of this outbreak. What can we glean that could help with strategic imperatives for the future?
Those Bankrupt of Hope
The level of global fear — not just of the virus, but financial impact of the economic shut-down — may be on the level of World War II. The confidence in the economy, jobs, careers, and future has been obliterated. “All of creation will be shaken.” (Hebrews 12:27)
While this may be very heart-wrenching to us personally, at least we still can put our trust in our Father. Those without an authentic relationship with Christ are bankrupt of hope. Especially those millennials and Gen Z-ers who have not really known any hardship, and can barely imagine the days of the Great Depression several generations removed. Their confidence in living in a land of abundance has softened their grit and created large scale entitlement.
Now is our moment to rise and steward the openness that this shaking has introduced.
It is not unlike the Jewish nation when they experienced seasons of blessings and peace. They quickly strayed from the Lord over and over. Today’s entitlement culture has made it even more difficult to deeply impact the younger generations. Hence a massive exodus from Church has ensued.
This ‘shaking’ is our moment to be fountains of hope to weary souls. To compel them to escape from their focus on existential happiness to the transcendent reality of connecting with Christ. We can help them realize that all that brought them happiness can disappear in a moment. Show them that just because practical desires are met, these do not fill the soul. We were meant for more than simply food and drink. “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
This kind of global “aha” moment does not come a long very often. Now is our moment to rise and steward the openness that this shaking has introduced. But, how?
We can take a page out of the book of best practices that churches growing exponentially around the world are using right now. I am not just referring to the newly discovered “streaming-church” forced upon many churches, or even those more innovative using Virtual Reality church.
Of course, we should leverage technology, as internet use will grow from 4 billion in 2020 to about 8 billion in 2025. However, the exponentially growing churches I examined in my recent doctoral studies have done this for quite a while. And a whole lot more. Some of their best-practices include:
- The Senior Pastor owns the focus on getting the Gospel to the next-generation
- They are intentional about reaching those most likely to come to Christ. (Namely, those under 20 years old.)
- They have a sticky-growth plan (discipleship) that is life-giving and magnetic!
Impacting the Next Generation
How churches implement these practices vary depending on their location in the world, but all are impacting profoundly the next generation. Their practices embody the statement:
When we focus on reaching and discipling those most likely to come to Christ, we will build an Exponential church that is deep, wide and multi-generational.
Since we are in a time of dramatic paradigm shift anyway, perhaps we can examine other paradigms that have inhibited our growth. We can leverage this moment! Let it be said the coronavirus ordeal ignited the largest impact for the Gospel in the history of the world. That Church leaders rose up to reach and disciple those whose confidence in the world’s systems were shaken and found their confidence in Christ!
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