Leading The Church In Uncharted Waters

Edwin Copeland Church United Director

It has been said that leadership is about leading people where they need to go but often resist going. Today, in the midst of COVID-19, the question the Church faces is how to engage and mobilize people toward their own transformation, in order to accomplish a shared mission in a changing world. If the Coronavirus has taught us anything, it is that the world in front of us is nothing like the world behind us. And while the uncharted waters ahead are indeed scary, they are also present a great and unprecedented opportunity. 

A wise friend and mentor of mine once said, “People don’t resist change. They resist loss.” The foundational task ahead is to discern what needs to be preserved and what needs to change. Once we’ve settled what will never change, we need to be prepared to allow everything else to change. God’s people — the Church — empowered by the Holy Spirit — are the hope of the world and are the means by which God builds and demonstrates his Kingdom throughout the world. That will never change.  Salvation comes through faith in Jesus alone and is all a work of grace — that will never change. God is right now ruling over all creation, he is redeeming and restoring the world back to way it was created to be — that will never change. Everything else will change — and is changing. 

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Indeed, Church leadership during the midst of the Coronavirus will most certainly require loss. For years, Pastors throughout South Florida have been praying for God to bring revival. We’ve been praying that God would meet us and give us the grace to lay aside our own egos and logos. We’ve been praying for, as Pastor Robey Barns of City Rev Church puts it, “To awaken the sleeping giant that is the Church” as more and more ministry shifts away from paid church staff to equipped and mobilized lay leaders. The implications of COVID-19 may be the greatest “poke” to awaken that giant in our lifetime as top down decision making and problem solving is quickly being replaced by more spirit led, organic and collaborative efforts to see faith, hope, and love rise throughout our region. 

The Church Remains.

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Hebrews 12:26-28 reminds us that that, “When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: ‘Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.’ This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him.” In light of this great truth we find the freedom to not worry and fight for the survival and success of what we’ve known, but rather embrace the moment and the changes it brings. Why? Because we are a people of an unshakeable Kingdom. 

In these uncertain times, it is important to remember that the Kingdom of God is unshakable. With that as our firm foundation, we — God’s people – are freed to innovate, to put up our sails and head toward uncharted waters with boldness and confidence. A Kingdom opportunity is at hand and an adventure awaits.

The early Church seized Roman roads. The Protestant Church utilized the invention of the printing press to spark the Reformation. We have an unprecedented opportunity to seize this digital moment for evangelistic innovation and the expansion of God’s Kingdom. 

 

Edwin Copeland serves as the Director of Church United with the National Christian Foundation of South Florida where he works to unify the Church through collaboration and celebration to see faith, hope, and love spread throughout South Florida. To learn more about Church United, visit churchunited.city

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