In a recent article, Christian writer Jeff Christopherson suggests three ideas that, if embraced by the Church, would lead to unprecedented spiritual renewal in our cities. His ideas were simple:
The Gospel is everyone’s vocation — not just a chosen few.
From the start of the Coronavirus to the time this article was written, Google searches for faith-related questions are up 700 percent. “The Search for God” documentary is trending on Netflix. Churches across the globe saw record numbers of digital attendance over Easter. What this means is that our friends, neighbors, family members and co-workers are searching — this could be one of the greatest evangelistic moments of our time. However, in order to reap the harvest that’s before us, I believe we must quickly pivot to Jeff’s timely points and embrace the very biblical realities behind them.
“But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you…” (1 Peter 2:9-10). This verse couldn’t be more accurate that the gospel is everyone’s vocation — not just pastors and church staff members. No matter what you do for a living, YOU have been chosen by God for the high calling of priestly work. Your coworker on the other end of that zoom call, the neighbor that you go for an evening walk with, that friend from book club — those that God has placed in your sphere of influence during this season are the ones searching Google for answers right now and the ones watching documentaries about faith on Netflix. And that is where YOU come in. God has called and ordained you to be an agent of His kingdom — a priest — a living and breathing demonstration of his Kingdom and proclaimer of the gospel — the good news about Jesus.
Overwhelmed by that reality? Relax. Take a breath. There’s good news: you have supernatural power. Our God doesn’t leave us alone and tell us “now go and save the lost and tell me how you did.” He’s given us the power of the Holy Spirit — the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is with us. He gives words. He gives wisdom. He gives boldness and confidence. He gives strength and power to our words and is ultimately the one who does the saving. Is there urgency? Yes. Is there pressure? No.
The Church is God’s PEOPLE in the community — not a Sunday service.
If there is one truth that has come to light in the midst of the Coronavirus, it’s been this one. Though our church buildings have been more or less closed for the duration of this pandemic, the Church has never been closed. Being a follower of Jesus has never been about going to Church on Sunday or tuning into a digital service. We are the people of God called to demonstrate his Kingdom and the fruits of his spirit throughout our community. We do food drives because we believe there is coming a time where food insecurity will be no more. We are known for uncommon generosity because we believe that our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and is the great provider. We care for our first responders because we believe their work demonstrates the healing and restoration promised in Revelation 21:5 where God says “behold, I am making all things new.” The list could go on, but you get the point — the work and mission of the Church gets lived out in the midst of the pain, mess, beauty and brokenness of everyday life. Sunday morning serves as a reminder of who we are, who we belong to, and to which Kingdom our true citizenship lies.
The Kingdom of God is our only goal — not the advancement of our brand.
Unity and collaboration are no longer optional but essential in our new, post-pandemic reality. Our identity as sons and daughters of the King of Kings supersedes our secondary identity as members of a local church. We are members of God’s family before we are members of __________ church. Don’t get me wrong; you were designed to be a part of a local church — to live and share life in community, accountability and fellowship with other Christ followers. However, advancing the brand of that local expression was never the point. Brand advancement leads to divisive competition rather than unity and co-laboring. It leads to mission drift as ego, logos and resources begin to slowly take precedence over our shared mission to see South Florida look more and more as a place known for faith, hope and love.
There is no question that the Coronavirus has caused social and vocational disruption. Almost everything that we knew as “normal” has changed, and a new semblance of normal is emerging. However, in the midst of all the change, anxiety and unrest, one fundamental truth remains: The Church — God’s people — you and I as followers of Jesus Christ – are the hope of the world. The mission is still on, and it’s more critical than ever before.
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