by Jonathan Schimidt
Over the past several months the church (the body of Christ and all its expressions) has faced a problem which it has not faced in any of our lifetimes. I am not talking about persecution- I am talking about adapting to a society that is being inflicted with disease. I see lots of conversation and debate over Christians wearing masks or attending services, should we be afraid or not, are we living in faith if we do/do not wear masks or attend church. However, I do not think this is the main thing that should come from lockdown, I think these debates are a distraction from what God has done over the past few months.
For what seems like forever I have seen churches around the world talk about how we need to take the focus off the church building and put it into our communities and the people that make up the Church. Although COVID-19 has been horrible and effected the entire world in some way, shape or form there is good that has come from it. Like God with Joseph (read the story of Joseph in Genesis chapters 37-50) He (God) has done something amazing with the church.
Over the past two generations the online world has become an ever-increasing part of the daily lives of millions, if not billions of people – It is easier to get internet around the world then it is to get clean drinking water. For years, the Church has needed to increase the ways it uses the internet as a platform to both represent the Church and Christ. Over the past 5 months churches around the world have adapted and changed how they do everything from Sunday services to the various ministries. We have finally been backed into a corner that has caused us to adapt the traditions, both good and bad, that we have formed. I am not saying that meeting weekly in person is wrong in anyway, but I think that as we move into yet another season of second waves and opening up of countries we need to continue to innovate the ways that we impact society around us through the internet.
Often people speak of the internet being a dark and dangerous place. Growing up that is all you ever hear about, but I would like to challenge the Church to being salt and light in that darkness. Let us make a difference across the social media platforms. Let us seek to also keep the Church within the communities and not to retreat to the comfort of our buildings. The Church is meant to be out and about! As YWAM Derby our heart has always been to bring God into the city. Meet the people where they are at, where they are comfortable, where they feel safe.
Gen Y and Gen Z both speak the language of technology, not just with understanding how it works but with how it has become an everyday part of their lives. If we want to reach the younger generations we must maintain the ability to connect with them where they are at, not where we think they should be.