As we close out 2020, likely one of the most eventful years of most of our lives, I think it is certainly worth looking back and evaluating the performance of the church during those exciting times.
In the military, this was called an “After Action Review." Through this, we learn to celebrate the victories and improve upon the losses.
To think 2021 will be the flip of a switch and usher in ‘the good old days” would be unrealistic at best. So we can assume it to be vital to learn our lessons from this last year to apply forward to 2021.
Through the darkest days of 2020, I still would be hesitant to label anything the church was faced with as "persecution." We faced government-mandated shutdowns and capacity restrictions as a pandemic swept the world.
Unsure of what exactly the future held, I think we all did the best we knew how through unprecedented events. We tried our best to navigate the uncertain circumstances and steward physically vulnerable people in our congregations. All while struggling to find black and white answers through scripture on exactly how to proceed.
So with that being said, how would our commanding officer (God) grade our 2020 performance? What have we learned? What do we need to change moving forward?
I’m itching to start out with the obvious, yet likely controversial, observation: Facebook Live, Zoom and other technological replacements for in-person church are no replacement at all. The deterioration of the spiritual health of the technologically churched crowd is proof enough. God designed us for fellowship with each other.
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25
If you want to be a church, be a church. If you want to run a podcast, run a podcast.
Next, as mentioned, we faced orders from the government to close our doors. Later, we faced capacity restrictions. Again, what a tough circumstance where we were all faced with making instantaneous decisions. This isn’t about beating ourselves up; this is about sharpening and shaping the church from this point.
The Bible clearly states we as believers will be challenged by the world (2 Timothy 3:10-12). If 2020 wasn’t that, it was certainly preparation for it.
Each church is called to differing objectives. There is likely no "one size fits all" solution to this. But to give an honest and fair critique of our conduct will only serve to prepare us for what 2021 has in store.
Will this be the year the church will be forced to echo the Apostles in Acts chapter 5: “We must obey God rather than human beings?"
Will we have the courage to cast out the false doctrine of political correctness and fully and wholly follow God’s path despite the consequences?