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THE VALUE OF COMMUNITY

“I miss you!”  That is a statement being made and heard quite often right now.  The value of community is something the church has been built upon and is stressed in the scriptures.  The early church was devoted to fellowship and meeting together…daily.  In a Zoom meeting with some national church planting leaders, Gary Rohrmayer with Converge shared, “No one should travel alone.  We need each other!”  That is so true and never truer than right now.  You can continue to stay connected and you can continue to walk with others through this challenging time.

Then, Doug Paul with Catapult suggested that we create an environment based on that value that promotes and creates space to think.  It is worth repeating, “We are so busy working in the ministry that we very seldom have time to work on the ministry.”  Here are a few things to think on:  How are you responding to this challenge?  Are you the optimist, pessimist, alarmist, or skeptic?  Here is a more important question:  How will you respond to what God is saying and teaching you and your church during this season?

Doug also suggested that you should never forget that it is always appropriate to stop and pray.  One pastor shared with me that every evening they are opening up Zoom for times of prayer.  In studying the scriptures there seems to be three things that always get God’s attention and a heavenly response: prayer, repentance, and fasting.  All planning must be prayerful planning.  Prayer admits that you do not have the answers and you cry out to God in desperation for direction and guidance.  Fasting shows God how serious you really are!

Doug Paul continued to challenge us that as we navigate these challenging times “together” we do not need more content but, rather, more community.  The focus is to have connection over content by walking this road together.  The beauty of our Zoom pastor coaching calls is the opportunity for live trouble-shooting.  It has been awesome to witness one pastor struggling with a particular challenge and another pastor share how they navigated those same waters.  You see coaching and mentoring is not lecturing and information transfer but is iron sharpening iron.

The last thing Doug challenged us with was to make sure you come away with one practical thing to accomplish in the next week.  The Apostle Paul did not say these thousand things I do but rather this one thing I do.  There is a plethora of information, webinars, downloads, and attachments coming from everywhere.  Take a deep breath and consider the advice of Will Mancini from his book, Younique.  Consider what one thing you would like to change or accomplish in the next 30 – 90 days.  Then determine what four things you need begin today to make it happen.

Without next steps for today what you want to accomplish will just be a pipe dream and never a reality. Thom Rainer has a lot to say about the power of focusing on one thing.  He states the following observations.  “Church revitalization doesn’t have to be as complicated as some make it. Just start with one thing.  Trying to do too much too quickly can kill a revitalization effort.  Ministry complexity will drain the leadership of a church.  When you are forced to choose one ministry to focus on in a church, you typically choose the best and most effective ministry.”

Rainer makes it clear, “You have to begin somewhere and complexity leads to confusion and complacency.”  Get together with other leaders in your church and outside your church and begin asking these questions:  What is God trying to teach you during these challenging days?  What do you need to start doing that you were not doing before COVID-19?  What have you started doing during this pandemic that you need to keep doing when it is over?  What do you need to stop doing because you now see it is unnecessary and unproductive?

If we can ever be of any help to you during these challenging times please let us know.  Reach out to us by email at larry@bmaam.com or Heidi@bmaam.com . Heidi Sorrells is our Pastor’s Advocate for our church health initiative, Activate.   Here is something from her challenging you on asking the right questions, “How has your vision been altered by what God has shown you during this season, and what will you take and make part of your church DNA going forward so you are not just back to business as usual?”

Here is another question you need to ask:  What do you need to spend more time doing and less time doing?  Maybe one thing would be less office time and more community time.  Maybe you need to focus more on leadership development by providing time and space to dream, brainstorm, and white board the things your team believes God is up to and what He wants you to do about it!  May our value be that no one should travel alone because we need each other!