There’s no doubt in my mind that we are living through a time where so many underlying assumptions that we once held close are being challenged. And it’s not just one aspect of culture that is shifting. So many things are changing simultaneously.
Today, we have at our fingertips, the power to make friends, to connect with anyone around the globe, to make movies, to start a movement, to spread ideas and information -- (even bad ideas and misinformation). Not so long ago, much of what is accessible now was out of reach.
Add to this, the fact that the nature of work is changing -- much of which has been hurried along by the pandemic. Many employees will remain virtual or have at least a hybrid option where they work. Many young professionals graduating from colleges are actively seeking employment where remote work flexibility is a given. This has even encouraged several larger companies in uptown not to renew leases for their buildings even as the economy opens back up.
Running alongside these things, there is also a long and growing wave of automation that is replacing a human workforce with a digital one. Many businesses that were once community cornerstones are now being upended (i.e. Blockbuster, Taxi Services, Hotel Industry, etc.) New business models have disrupted these former business giants and have found new ways to provide similar services. And what does this mean for the church, if anything?
We are all breathing this cultural air of uncertainty. And it is in the uncertainty of life that the Holy Spirit offers us a peace that surpasses all understanding. So, let us not be timid or frantic but simply honest about where we find ourselves. Many of my pastor friends have been asking, as have I and many of you, “When will people return to church? How might things look different going forward and what things will remain the same?”
Much like our circuit-riding Methodist ancestors, we too must find ways to meet people where they are on this new frontier of change.
Therefore, on the last Sunday in October, every member of Christ UMC will have an opportunity to fill out a ministry menu for 2022. Every member will have an opportunity to say in these challenging times that the church can count on me to fulfill my vows of supporting the mission and vision of Christ UMC through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness.
A changing world like ours needs a church that boldly proclaims and demonstrates the radical love of Jesus Christ. So will you join me in the month of October and pray that we will rise up to meet these new challenges? I cannot wait to see how God will continue to work through it all!