By Waylon Bailey.
I don’t need to call to anyone’s attention that church has changed over the last five weeks. Nothing in my lifetime has had as much affect on the church as the Covid-19 Pandemic.
What are the changes?
First, sacred cows and traditions have been abruptly removed from the church. If you can’t pass an offering plate, is any tradition sacred?
I don’t have to tell you that this is a good effect for the church. We have widely assumed that we must always do church the way we’ve always done church. But, of course, that has nothing to do with Scripture. Yes, offerings are Scriptural, but exactly how this is done is not Scriptural.
We’ve all known churches that could only receive an offering immediately before the sermon. We’ve known churches that have fought over almost anything.
Now, all of that is moot. How many years will it be before we are willing to pass an offering plate from person to person with everyone handling it?
Just to be clear, I like traditions. We all have traditions, but we don’t need traditions that take precedence over the gospel.
Second, the church is learning through pain and suffering that the church is not a place.The church is the people of God.
We have also learned how much we need the church. We have taken it for granted. We have made the church little and unimportant. How our God must be grieved! His Son died for the church. Can’t we sacrifice for the church?
Think of the commands of God for the church that we have trampled upon. God tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, and we have let anything become more important than the church. We have complained because God has told us to be good stewards of our money and to use that money for the kingdom of God.
Many believers have given sacrificially, but the vast number of professing Christians are not cheerful givers.
Third, we have learned that it is the gospel that comforts our hearts. I’ve seen this in my congregation and in my own life. The more I have preached on the cross, the resurrection, and the imminent return of Christ, the more the church has been blessed and comforted. It is not cheerful words that give us strength; it is the gospel of grace, redemption, and love.
I hope I can say this for all of us: I don’t want to go back to normal.
I want to live the abnormal life of a fully devoted follower of Christ.