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Author Topic: Christianity Today Magazine - May 2020  (Read 1223 times)

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patrick jane

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Re: Christianity Today Magazine - May 2020
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2020, 02:21:06 pm »


Jesusí Re-Shaping of a Post-Pandemic Church

So, now what?

For many, the fruit of this pandemic has been troubling, confusing, and spiritually disorienting.

But not for all.

For some, this season of cultural turbulence has brought greater clarity to their spiritual intuition. Theyíve witnessed many moorings of tradition exposed as skimpy vestiges that could not possibly survive this test. Theyíve watched our sacred ecclesiastical proxies evaporate Ė vaporized by an imperceptible virus. Elaborate systems that have long served as safe, synthesized surrogates for a more substantive participation in Christís mission have come to a sputtering and inglorious end.

So, now what?

Speak Courage. Ironically, some who regularly proclaim from our pulpits that ďall members are ministersĒ and that ďwe are all missionaries,Ē have been very silent on directions for their Ďminister-mission-forceí in the season of a scattered church. Instead, we most often hear of a longing, languishing, desperate, yearning to fill the empty pews Ė as if to concede that the scattering has altogether thwarted the churchís mission. But surely God is still at work.

If the churchís mission is essentially seen as one of gathering, then we have enough evidence to see that an invisible virus is more powerful than that version of church. This is a conclusion that many have realized Ė well before the pandemic hit. The Holy Spirit has revealed to many through an honest reading of the New Testament, that Jesusí church was never meant to be a weekly worship experience, but a unified, commissioned, and sent people living synergistically in the world under the authority of Christ. We know this. But do we have the courage to voice it?

The Courage for Metanoia. The only steps which bring us closer to Christ are steps of repentance. Metanoiaóthe changed mindórequires disciples to choose courageous steps away from our self-interested-minds and toward the mind and mission of Christ. If this is true for the individual disciple, how much truer is it of Jesusí collective people? Now, perhaps more than any time in living memory, Jesusí Church has an opportunity for courageous steps of metanoia in the months aheadóboth publicly and privately. As my friend Alan Hirsch said, ďAny move toward God requires repentance.Ē

The Grace for Metanoia. My desire for Godís grace is Godís grace. My honest desire for Godís mind, for Godís will, for Godís glory comes only through repentant moves toward a gracious God. When collectively, our desires for Christís mission supersedes our self-centered impulses for safety, comfort, and brand-control, we experience the grace of metanoia.

So, what might the repentant reshaping of a post-pandemic church look like? As a pastor of a local church, I, like many of you, have wrestled with this question. Although not exhaustive, here are three repentant moves toward God that I am convinced he is requiring of us.

Orthodoxy: A Sovereign God on a Rescue Mission. Orthodoxy speaks of right teaching. The right teaching that this pandemic has clarified to us is that God has always been on a rescue mission, and his church finds her purpose as she wholeheartedly engages in that divine commission. Outside of the mission of Christ, the church has no purpose, no passion, and no power.

Knowing this, we have still found other fascinations to preoccupy our energies and resources. Good things in their primacy of our affections have become god-like things for many. We are no longer a selfless, rescuing people Ė we have become a self-consumed, relaxed people, content to contract out a minor missionary impulse in order to qualify for the demarcation of evangelical.

But the grace of metanoia has landed. The secondary things that we chased have become hollow, empty, and vapid. The question, ďHow many are you running?Ē now seems like a relic of a different era. Were we ever really running anybody? Or did our scorecard require the benching of the saints instead of deploying them into Jesusí rescue mission?

An orthodox application of Godís sovereignty reveals, with immense clarity, that God is absolutely in charge. He has allowed these cataclysmic events to crush the ecclesial basket that has been smothering the light of Christ and scattered little lights into dark, frightened, and hopeless neighborhoods.

What will be our post-pandemic response? Will our metanoia be orthodox?

Orthopraxy: A Biblical Community Engaged in Godís Rescue Mission. Orthopraxy speaks of right practice. By connecting right practice with our right teaching, we become a biblical community that is neck deep in Godís rescuing ventures. We become as salt and light in a dark, tasteless world. Our participation in Godís mission becomes like transforming yeast to people desperate to see the Kingdom of God. We become a people who are others centered. Our true orthodoxy is authenticated only through orthopraxy.

So, Godís grace leads us to practical metanoia. As we have been dispersed into the mission field, many have seen the world with new eyes. Compassionate eyes. Jesusí eyes. And once you have seen, it becomes very difficult to Ďun-see.í Now, there is a growing Kingdom yearning in the hearts of many saints that will never again be satisfied with the self-consuming priorities of our pre-pandemic assemblies. There is a deep yearning for a simpler thing. Something that is real. Something that is substantial. Something that isnít dependent on production values. Something that is important.

Will our corporate practices reflect repentant moves toward God and his mission?

Orthopathy: Joy-filled Believers Revealing the Beauty of Godís Mission. Orthopathy speaks of right affections. When right teaching is animated with right practice, right affections become the natural fruit. Like raspberries forming on a raspberry bush, we naturally develop passions for Godís passions. As our affections are turned upward, they then are turned outward. Our affections for Christ deepen beyond the momentary emotions emerging from well-rehearsed worship songs to decisions that demonstrate that I have become a living sacrifice. Our affections for Christís Body transform from remaining in a church as long as the experience meets my needs to seeing my brothers and sisters as my interdependent spiritual family. I need them to become like Christ. And they need me.

In this divine dance of interdependence, we discover deep affections for Christís Mission. The gospel becomes a much too weighty thing to only consider during the sacred hour. It becomes the propelling theme that thrusts us out from the safety of our sanctuaries into the broken, desperate, and painful places where good news is craved the most.

The Joy of Metanoia. So, the steps of repentance that moves us toward God indelibly marks us with his unconcealable joy. The church reveals the beauty of Godís Kingdom as we joyfully engage Christís mission with an affection that findís its source in Christ himself. Those living in darkness cannot escape the contrasting light that illuminates Godís Kingdom. With living water before them, newly befriended neighbors suddenly find themselves thirsty for a drink they didnít know existed.

So, will our post-pandemic churches be the same as they were before the great scattering? By Godís grace, I know one in a suburb of Toronto that will not be.

What about the one that you lead?

Jeff Christopherson is a church planter, pastor, author and Missiologist at the Send Institute - an interdenominational church planting and evangelism think tank.

The Exchange is a part of CT's Blog Forum. Support the work of CT. Subscribe and get one year free.
The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -

Copyright Disclaimer: All audio and music belongs to the owner/creator. This is a non-profit. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.


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