Over the past several months, COVID-19 has radically changed our familiar ‘church’ experience.
The Sunday mornings we knew a year ago were very different from the online Sunday mornings we knew for the last three months – and they are very different from what we’re experiencing today!
Over these last months we’ve changed how we gather. We’ve changed how we worship. We’ve changed how we do preaching and teaching. We’ve changed how we do kids programming. We’ve changed how we fellowship. We’ve changed how we do Bible studies. We’ve changed how we connect with each other and with the community.
So many of our familiar church experiences have changed.
And so this whole process of changing how we do church has really led me to reevaluate what we do and why we do it!
- Just because we’ve always had a snacktime in the middle of our service doesn’t mean we have to… It doesn’t even mean we should!
- Just because we enjoy having some talented musicians lead our worship with piano, guitars, and drums – it doesn’t mean we have to… it doesn’t mean we should!
- Just because we’ve had great success in running our summer kids club or other kids programming – doesn’t mean we have to…. doesn’t mean we should!
It’s easy to get into the habit of just doing things because that’s what we’ve always done before. But it’s important to evaluate every once in a while to see if what we’re doing is still useful and effective and important.
It’s like the story of young lady who was newly married and she decided to bake a ham for their first Easter dinner. So she took the ham, sliced off both ends and placed it in the roasting pan. Her husband was watching all this and asked, “Honey, why did you slice off the ends of that ham? It’s all good ham – why not just bake the whole thing?”
The young wife thought about this and said “I’m not sure – that’s what mom always did when she baked a ham. I’ll ask her.”
So the young lady called up her mom and asked “Mom, when you’re roasting a ham, why do you always cut off the ends?” The Mom thought for a moment and said, “Well, that what your grandmother always did. Grandma’s ham was always delicious, and so I’ve always just done what she did.”
So the young lady then called up Grandma and asked, “Grandma, when you cook a ham, why do you always cut off the ends?” To this the Grandma replied, “I always cut off the ends because I didn’t have a roasting pan big enough to fit the whole ham.”
And I think this story illustrates what often happens in church. We just do things a certain way simply because that’s what we’ve always done – without considering if what we’re doing is still useful, effective, and important.
And so with all the changes that we’ve been forced to make because of COVID-19, I think now is a perfect opportunity for us to all reevaluate how we do church.
Why do we do the things that we do? What are some things that we should change? What are some things that we should never change?
But I guess, to answer those questions, we really need to take a look at the bigger picture. What exactly are we trying to accomplish as a church anyway? What’s the purpose of the church?
If we don’t have a clear picture of why we exist and what God wants us to accomplish – I think we’ll have a really hard time measuring the effectiveness of what we do.