It’s no secret that life has changed in significant ways during the year 2020. And while many people are hoping that things will return back to the way they were before the world was hit with a pandemic, others have enjoyed some of the forced change.
I don’t think life will ever look the same as it did pre-COVID. And really that’s just how it goes. When something significant forces culture to shift, it rarely returns to the way it once was. This is what history books are made of–large moments that force society to change the way we function. And yet no matter how much we know this to be true, we hate it. We resist change every step of the way. We fight against it like a toddler getting his diaper changed.
But change is necessary for humanity to continue to thrive. And this isn’t only true of our culture and societal norms. It’s also true of our faith.
Of course, the gospel will never change. But in order to grow more into the person Jesus created you to be, you need to constantly be changing. God is in the change business. We should become a little more open to allowing him to do that, even if it’s through a worldwide pandemic.
We all long for our faith to constantly grow and mature. The only way that happens is through change. So you shouldn’t find yourself at the other end of this pandemic with the same faith you went in with. It’s been a substantial enough shift for our daily lives that every one of us should see abiding change.
Here are 3 ways your faith should never be the same in a post COVID-19 world.
1. Community should be a central aspect of your faith.
I’ve often heard people speak about their faith as if it’s just about them and Jesus. Not only is this contrary to what the bible says about your faith, but it’s a harmful way to view your faith.
One of the most noticeable side effects of this pandemic has been forced isolation. We’re all aware that it’s not good for us to be alone. But during this season, it has become all the more apparent. Study after study has been conducted on the way isolation negatively affects the whole health of an individual. It’s not just an issue of mental illness, but also the physical and emotional issues that accompany a person who has been without human contact for too long. We were created for community. Our faith thrives, grows, and strengthens within the community of fellow believers. Jesus says that he is the head and the Church is the body. We’re eternally connected and essential to each other’s faith.
The pandemic has reiterated the truth God has been telling us since the beginning of creation. He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). And all throughout the New Testament, the bible talks about how vital it is that people exist together in true community.
We need God and we need one another. The reason you can’t do life alone is because you weren’t designed to. The importance of existing within a community of believers is to help encourage you, strengthen you, and bear your burdens.
This shouldn’t just be something you know, it should be something you do. A foundational element of your faith should be the community you gather with.
Allow yourself to open up to others and truly let them in. There’s so much beauty and healing within the community of God. You only have to allow yourself to step into that.
This pandemic shouldn’t just help us realize we aren’t healthy in isolation. It should permanently change our faith to be built upon community. I know that’s not always easy, but it’s necessary.
2. You should be opening your mind to new ways of worship.
Now hear me out before you think I’m suggesting something heretical.
But the fact of the matter is that church has looked a lot differently for the better part of this year. From churches needing to close, meet in smaller numbers, meet outside, or even worship with masks on, it’s certainly not what we’re used to.
The only model of church we have ever known has been uprooted. And that makes us uncomfortable. But the reality is that the way of “doing church” we’re most comfortable with isn’t the way it’s always been. The idea of the church experience revolving around a worship team taking the stage and a pastor preaching for 45 minutes from a pulpit is the model we’ve known for the last few hundred years. But prior to that it looked differently.
This pandemic has caused us to shift the way we do church. And in turn it has really made us consider what it is to be a Christian. Our faith has never been dependent upon the methods and principles used on a Sunday morning. Pastors and leaders have been forced to be creative in the structures of their churches as we continue to be the body of Christ.
I’m sure the model of church we’re all used to will soon return, but we shouldn’t lose the sense that we can be flexible with it.
This may not be new information to you, but there is no prescribed method of how to do a church service in scripture. The method many of us know today is actually not what the early church would have known. Most of the early church would have consisted of small groups gathering in homes. There were no mics, no central air, and certainly no electric guitars.
This isn’t to say that we need to go back to the structures used by the early church. Actually, what I’m saying is that it’s okay to change those structures. We can be flexible and not find ourselves outraged when methods change.
Even after the pandemic ends and things begin to settle into a new normal, we should carry the same sense of flexibility and willingness to adjust when it comes to the methods in which we see our faith carried out and practiced.
3. You should think more creatively about how we can evangelize.
With restaurants being moved outside, face masks required, and gatherings beyond a certain size prohibited, it’s hard to know how to engage people.
There’s also the hesitancy of not knowing the comfort level of those around you. I often find myself seeing someone I know and instinctively wanting to hug them, only to realize that I probably shouldn’t. So after a few seconds of thinking through the options of elbow nudges or fist bumps, I usually end up just awkwardly standing next to them. Can you relate?
Navigating social situations during this time is awkward and uncomfortable, which often makes for odd moments. And this seems always to be true of opportunities to share the gospel. But in this season, it feels even more difficult and unnatural to talk about the weighty topic of salvation when you can’t get close to someone.
So, we’ve had to find other creative ways to evangelize. That probably looks a lot more like utilizing various forms of technology. Maybe you’ve had to figure out how to work Zoom in order to have a more connected conversation with a friend or you’ve found yourself FaceTiming more than close family members. I think the pandemic has helped us be a bit more intentional and mindful of connecting with people where they are. You might even be talking to people more than you normally would be and that’s good.
Before the pandemic we were taught very specific ways to evangelize, and many of those aren’t practical during these times. We’ve had to think outside of the box and even find ways to meet people who don’t know Jesus. A byproduct of sharing your faith with others is that your faith continues to grow. The more you talk about Jesus and share Jesus with others, the more the Holy Spirit reminds you of his work and keeps your faith fresh. May our sense of intentionality and creativity to evangelize not end with the pandemic.
Lean into the discomfort of a new season.
In these strange times, our status quo has been rudely interrupted. I’m sure you’ve found yourself in many uncomfortable situations, because of the far reaching effects of COVID-19. I can relate to the frustration and longing for it to be over already. But during this time, matters of faith have also been forced to shift. It might feel like something sacred is changing. But that isn’t always the case.
When it comes to our faith, we should guard against growing stagnant and calling our complacency holiness. We should be open to God using events, situations, and people to shake the cobwebs off of our faith.
When this pandemic is over I hope we can say that our faith has been renewed.