As ministry leaders look to guide congregations through and past the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, many are beginning to think about what the Church will look like moving forward. It is premature to declare that we are on the other side of this crisis, but it is not too early to give consideration to what ministry (re)engagement could be like as we move toward that day.
Just as we learned to value “engagement” as a meaningful measure of ministry impact mid-pandemic, we will be looking to measure “re-engagement” in a post-pandemic world.
In the online world of virtual church, pastors and ministry leaders have measured the impact of their services in a couple of ways. Through analytics we have been able to measure the number of connections or views provided through various online platforms. These numbers tell you how many “views” or IP address connections each livestream broadcast, social media post, or Zoom meeting generated. While interesting, and not without value as a measurement, analytics alone cannot measure the true impact of ministry.
This morning I began my day with some time in Psalm 47 and a prayer guide titled The Songs of Jesus by Timothy Keller. Psalm 47:1 says: Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy. In his reflection on this psalm, Keller writes: “Rather than think of ourselves as an embattled, political minority or persecuted underdogs, Christians should be so over-flowing with the joy of our salvation that we feel the privilege of singing his praise to those who do not know him.” (p.98 The Songs of Jesus)
As Christ followers we serve and follow a risen Savior. He is King Jesus, the One who overcome sin and death. His resurrection, celebrated just last Sunday, makes it possible for you and I to know joy. We can know the joy of our own redemption from sin. We can know the joy of abundant life in Christ. We can know the joy of a promise of eternal life with him when, one day, we enter into our life after death. In short, there is so much to be joyful about.
Yet how often do we project a different message through our countenance, our words, or our behavior? When we go through life long-faced, despondent, complaining or piously encumbered, we act more like that “embattled minority” Keller counsel us to avoid representing. My experience of Easter this year was joyful, was yours?
*Note: This blog post is also available as a podcast on “Dan’s Sunday Preview“, a podcast by Pastor Dan Cash which can be accessed at https://anchor.fm/daniel-cash, Apple podcasts and a variety of other sites.
Growing up in a Christian home, Holy Week was a time in the Christian year when I was reminded that as Baptists, we were not alone in this journey of faith. You see during Holy Week we came together for a series of “special services” with our Methodist and Disciples of Christ brothers and sisters to commemorate the season.
These three congregations in my home community took turns hosting one of three special services – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday or Easter Sunrise – providing special music and preaching on the occasions when they weren’t serving as host. I found the whole enterprise to be quite interesting. Sitting in the pews in another congregation was a new experience. Seeing people from the greater community who were members there, or at another church. Listening to another preacher – my favorite was the Methodist pastor because he never preached longer than 15 minutes! In contrast it seemed like our pastor couldn’t wind it down under 30!
I’ve begun sharing a weekly podcast titled “Dan’s Sunday Preview” that takes a look at the coming Sunday’s sermon passage.
These are generally 5-7 minute recordings that examine just one aspect of the text, prompting our thinking prior to the coming Sunday. If you are interested, you can find this week’s (as well as former episodes) here: Pilgrimage Takes Us to Holy Places
Dan’s Sunday Preview Podcast. If you enjoy or benefit from the podcast, please subscribe.
An unwelcome milestone crossed by a weary nation
“six feet apart”
“wash your hands”
Markers all of public
For some, like the boy who cried “wolf”
an assualt on freedom
Not so for those who know an empty place
How does one return to “normal’ when normal left?
Slipped away, isolated, no visitors allowed
Repeated across the land, the absence felt
our curve is flat
our goodbyes muted
when we reassemble it will be with missing parts
A quotidian grief
you speak of the herd
we see the one
now disappeared but never gone
Grief denied will resurface