Open letter to the Church: Are you ready to rethink ministry in this crazy new world?

Dear Church,

Can we all agree that life will never be the same again?

Courtesy of SD Rock/Nathan Maselli
Courtesy of SD Rock/Nathan Maselli

It has happened before. The Civil, First and Second World Wars changed the way we lived. And so has the Great Pandemic of 2020. How we will go about our lives has been forever altered. How businesses operate will change. How we do school, and social interactions, and publicly assemble, and travel, and see our doctors, and...

The mind can go crazy thinking about it.

It means that everything in this new world must be rethought. Perhaps if 2020 will be known as the year of the Great Pandemic, it will also be known as the year of the Great Rethink. That is why I would like to encourage all churches, from clergy down to the attendee, to not get caught believing that we can go into the “new normal” with an old church model.

I don’t mean mere social distancing at church or streaming our services online or Bible study by video conference. Our churches will need to view their mission as far more in the streets than in the sanctuary. The unemployment numbers in our country are staggering. The tidal wave of need from that alone will reach across our communities and bring much pain. And that is not solely people in need of financial aid. It’s the deep reverberations that will stem from the coming unemployed class — social unrest, physical needs unmet, criminal behavior, educational opportunities lost, marital problems causing family destabilization...

The mind can go crazy thinking about it.

Will we be ready to be the hands and feet of God in that new world?

Rock Church has developed something called the Do Something Church® model. It was created as a way to parley to churches, organizations and lay teams, how to heighten effectiveness and efficiency when trying to reach as many needs in your community as possible. It is based on four specific actions and taken from the life of Christ.

1. COUNT: The Bible uses a number to measure something, on average, twice in every chapter and Jesus is no different. He measures the length of time He will be dead when He talks about being in the belly of the earth for three days. He also measures love when He explains that a man with 100 sheep left the 99 to search for one.

But in Luke 17:17–19, ten lepers come to Jesus for healing and only one returns to thank Him. Jesus knew how many lepers came to Him, so the question we all need to ask is how many lepers are in our communities? In other words, how many hospitals, COVID response teams, elderly in convalescent homes, homeless people, prostitutes, and kids in foster care are there in the geographic area God has identified your church to reach?

2. WALK: Jesus did not simply sit in the synagogue and wait for people to come to Him. He went to them. After you have counted and measured the symptom centers, go to them. The presence of Spirit-filled believers has a spiritual impact on the spiritual climate of the symptom center. Whenever Jesus walked up to a demon-possessed person, before He could say a word the demon called to Him by name and begged for mercy. The demon knew who He was on a spiritual level.

3. ASK: In Mark 10:49–51, blind Bartimaeus cried out to Jesus for help. Jesus asked a very simple question. He said, "What can I do for you?" Once you count to identify the problems and walk to be with the hurting in your community, the key is not to tell them what they need or to start sharing the four spiritual laws to salvation. There is a much simpler and more powerful thing to do. Just ask how you can help. If you can get the access, I’d also suggest asking your city and community leaders for their list of needs as well. It’s good for them to know they have an eager citizenry they can count on.

4. LOVE: Respond with love. This simply means to respond in a God-honoring way and without fail; God will open doors of ministry that you cannot imagine.

In the last couple of months, Rock Church went into our community to learn the needs for fighting the coronavirus. We responded by mobilizing our people to collect, donate, transfer PPE, repair masks, provide meals, host blood drives, deliver groceries to those in need and much more. After the catastrophic wildfires of 2007 when we turned the Rock into a shelter and crisis center for hundreds of displaced residents, stepping into the community to be the hands and feet of God in a big way has become what we do on a regular basis. Our response to COVID-19 was a natural, spiritual reflex.

To be a Do Something Church® isn't complex; it simply requires decision and action. But before you do that, let the reality of new world we all live in come into focus. Yes, we will never be the same. But if we take action, we can introduce people who are suffering to Jesus like never before.

Miles McPherson is the Senior Pastor of the Rock Church in San Diego. He is also a motivational speaker and author. McPherson's latest book “The Third Option” speaks out about the pervasive racial divisions in today’s culture and argues that we must learn to see people not by the color of their skin, but as God sees them—humans created in the image of God.


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