The future looks like online and in-person
Well, we are over a month into quarantine. I wanted to share with you all the sense I have of where we're headed in all of this. I think that we will be in some form of social distancing for longer than we anticipate. The latest word I have from our Bishop's official communication (http://www.calpacumc.org/bishop-hagiya/bishop-hagiyas-update-on-public-health-april-20-2020/) is that we will be worshiping online at least through all of May. My sense is that it will actually be longer than that. Once we do go back to worshiping in person, the online ministry will not go away. The things we are learning to do right now are a blessing to reach future generations who are more natively online. It will not be that we have live church or online church, but we will have both working together. So we need to get good at doing this online church thing. One of the unexpectedly fun things that have happened is that the praise and worship ministry of our church has started to collaborate remotely using Slack. We've discovered that far from this quarantine being a limitation to collaborative praise, it has actually forced us to be more collaborative than ever before. And we have the tools to do this. It's actually made it possible for more people to contribute to praise than normal.
There's no going back to the old normal from here. But the exciting thing is that the new normal might just be better for the church. This pandemic has forced us as Christians and as churches to reassess how we have been doing things and why. I believe we will come out on the other side more missional and less complacent. It is forcing us to try new things, and we are discovering that there are better ways of doing things than we had known. I hope that goes for the rest of society as well.
I believe the church of the future will be far more participatory than the church of the past. What part will you play? Smaller gatherings will mean more intimacy and more people doing the work of ministry. Online tools will mean you will be able to contribute to the ministry and mission of the church from wherever you are without the barrier of distance. Ministry will look more hands on and localized, in partnership with a globalized, online reach. I think exciting times are ahead for us. I pray God will help you find your place as an active member of the amazing work we are going to get to do with him and with one another.
This pandemic has not ruined God's plans. He has accounted for it all along. What the virus meant for evil, God will turn into good.