I heard a beautiful story recently of a Christian brother and friend in the US who met with a Christian researcher who was trying to develop synthetic skin. The scientist was frustrated that the skin was brilliant in a test tube but in real life it wasn’t bonding with actual skin. My friend asked the scientist “have you asked God?” “No” answered the scientist – “we don’t tend to do that!”
My friend said “well I can promise you that God, the Creator of all things knows how it works. He may or may not choose to tell you, but I can guarantee He knows. Why wouldn’t you first ask Him?”
What wisdom my friend brought to the table. God knows, why not start there?
I thought of two passages from the scriptures straight away:
- “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1-2 NIV)
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)
How often I lean on my own wisdom? How often I neglect to recognise that God is God. He created everything and knows how it works. He even knows my very thoughts. Why wouldn’t I turn to Him first?
Of course, the answer is sin. My desire to lean on my own understanding.
As I think about this I reflect on the enormously challenging task that church leaders face at the moment. Trying to work out how to re-engage church physically after social isolation whilst respecting the rules and governance required for social distancing.
I am aware of one group who started meeting as a smaller group and didn’t enjoy meeting in a socially distanced format, they wanted to go back to Zoom! Another group loved meeting together and would not go back to Zoom for a moment. How would a poor church leader know how people will respond?
The truth is, they cannot know. We will need to conduct little experiments. Some will work and some won’t. That is OK.
But here is what I learned from my friend. Take heart, because God knows!
Yes, let me encourage you to do the best you can at this time to be effective. Do experiments as best you can. Bring a team around you to help you think things through etc.
Make concrete those things that need to be concrete. The mission is unchanged and governance for social distancing is essential. Yet have the confidence to be light touch or fluid with the rest. Some will work and some won’t.
But above all, let me encourage you to lean on God the Creator of all things. Indeed, He knows what will work and what won’t. He may or may not share it with you, but I guarantee He is bigger than this and He knows. Let me encourage you to start there.
God is faithful. He is still calling people to Him, and He will make it work for HIS mission whether church works on Sunday or not!
Let’s lean on Him … God knows!
Also know that we at CMD continue to pray for you…