What a difference a year makes, right?! A year ago, I promise you I was not thinking about where I left my face mask, where I could grab a bite to eat, or even where to use a restroom when traveling. Unfortunately, these and so many others, were ordinary occurrences that we took for granted. Because I like to find value or the lesson in everything, it got me thinking, what have I actually learned during my time in the “Q” (quarantine).
I am a toilet paper snob
I know that is probably way too much information, but seriously, there were a lot of cut-rate, inferior options that popped up because of the shortage and I am not a fan. While I am not condoning hoarding, I now understand it, and whenever Charmin Ultra Soft becomes available, we stock up. Just saying…
Face coverings don’t really bother me that much
Such controversy! Even in my house this is a very sensitive and hotly debated issue. Maybe it is because I have a face mask that fits really well, but I sometimes forget I have it on. The other day I tried to test the temperature of my food – with my mask on. I’m sure the stain will wash out. But seriously, the way I see it, this is a small way I can be a part of preventing the spread of the virus and treat others as more important than myself. (See Philippians 2:3-4)
Becoming inwardly focused is easy
Like so many of you, for approximately three months, I remained at home and felt quite isolated. Worse than that was that I could feel tendencies creeping in causing me to ponder why no one was reaching out to me to see how I was doing. It seems that the more I was alone, the more I started to think about me. To combat that, as soon as someone came to mind, I would shoot them a text or an email just to let them know I was thinking about them. (See Romans 12:9-13)
Mission over Method
By the way, for those still reading, this is the most important lesson! I love reading Carey Nieuwhof’s blog posts and during the “Q”, he provided some great leadership insights, including this post on 3 Things that are Sabotaging the Church’s Future. In his post he gives great examples of organizations, like Kodak, that confused their mission with their method. The takeaway for me is that the mission of Sunridge is biblical, it is timeless, and it is inspiring. However, the way the mission is carried out has and will continue to change. Let me try to explain by describing the method many churches were using prior to the COVID quarantine: Gather on-campus with donuts and coffee available to make everyone comfortable. Check-in the kids to a safe environment and then arrive slightly late to a service that opens with a few songs of worship and praise to prepare hearts for the message. Transition to a doctrinally sound message to inform, inspire, and hopefully transform people into the image of Christ. Follow the message with a song for a time of contemplation and then close the service with ways to participate in what God is doing. Obviously, this method worked, but it has evolved quite a bit since the first century church and there is no reason to think it should not continue to evolve in order to accomplish the mission. Honestly, the method has changed quite a bit just in my lifetime – we rarely sing hymns, or have a responsive reading, or even pass an offering basket. These are (or were) all methods to accomplish the mission, but they are not the mission itself. Yet during this period of quarantine, I’ve seen so many that have opted to cling to the old methods that they have come to love. The issue is that they are unwilling to explore new ways God may be calling us to show a watching world why those who follow Jesus are different. We are different because we have experienced the grace and forgiveness that God offers through His son. We have a hope that does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts. We should demonstrate love to others, because that is how we show our love for God. And none of that requires following a specific method because church is so much more than what happens on Sunday morning. We are a family that cares for each other, loves each other, encourages each other, we are there for each other, and we share the gospel with others together.
Please do not misunderstand me, I cannot wait until we can all gather together again, indoors, in person, on-campus, and worship God together. It’s so important for us as followers of Jesus to be in fellowship with one another. I just want to be open to the leading of the Spirit and make sure that I’m more committed to the mission than the method.
What have you learned in your time in the “Q”?