By Rev. Dr. David Dubovich
Acting Associate Regional Minister
Many times we hear the word change, and how many times do we run away from it as far as we can? But we know that change is all around us each and every day of our lives. And change also occurs within the life of a church. Change is something all churches go through, and the last few years have exacerbated that.
We have not so much chosen to change as we’ve been forced to change, figuring out how we weather a national pandemic, how to stay united during a contentious political era, and how to come back together as a community in ways that honor Christ and include all those who call each of our congregations their church home.
We are not alone in trying to figure all this out. Regardless the size of the church or its location, every congregation is asking the same kinds of questions:
- Who are we now?
- How do we live out the gospel in this changed world?
- What does our community look like going forward in these days post-COVID?
These are questions that I am sure each of us, especially the pastors in our region, wrestle with each day, and the region of Kansas itself. Maybe we need to spend some time lamenting what we’ve lost, but even more, dream about what God can do through this time of transition?
But transition means change, and as a church (and human beings!) we don’t always like change. God knows we’ve had more than our share of it in the last few years! And yet, for us to not just survive but thrive, we’re going to have to continue to innovate and ask what it means to be Christ followers in this evolving world.
The world is moving too fast for us to settle into what is comfortable and easy. After all, Christ never called us to stay where we are. He called us to follow him.
The challenge is that we don’t have a roadmap for what that means. We can’t read books about the last worldwide pandemic that shut down the church for 14 months to glean insights or wisdom. We have to figure this out, but we don’t have to do it alone. We have each other and we have the love and grace of Christ, who walks with us.
So, we need to stay attentive to what God is saying to us. Through scripture, through sermons, through study and prayer, God has a word for us this very time and place. In addition, we need to listen to each other. I’ve heard someone recently say, “We need to check in instead of checking out.”
I believe the Holy Spirit speaks through us to make God’s will known for us, as individuals, as congregations and as our region. That’s why we need as many voices as possible sharing what they hear God is saying. So, we can all choose to stay the same and ensure our complacency, or we can choose to take the leap into whatever future God has planned for us.
I know which option is safer, but I also know which one is more exciting. Are you ready? Are we ready to ask God what he has planned for us? Are we ready to respond to the same question?
It might not be what we expect. It might mean we have to break out of our comfort zones. It might mean we look different in five years than we do today. But, really, is there any other way to live this life of faith? So….let’s leap together and trust God’s presence with us as we fly.