My inbox has been flooded the last week or so with articles and invitations to webinars about leading change in our churches and restarting with a fresh vision for ministry when this crisis is over. Honestly, it is all a bit overwhelming for this pastor.
We are all doing new things, learning new things, and even grieving the loss of some of the old things. Wouldn’t it just be easier to let things go back to “normal”? Are we really benefiting from this season? I hope so.
The question is: how? As I read Ecclesiastes this week, I felt like for once I actually related to this idea that “everything is meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (1:14 & 2:17). The more articles I read and webinars I participate in the more sorrow and grief also grow.
I’ve never led through anything like this, but this isn’t entirely new. It is a season that has happened before, but in a different era. Our current generations do not remember it, so it feels new, but to God and to the earth it is not new. (1:9-11)
Chapter three reminds us that there is a season for everything. God made it that way. There is meaning and purpose behind all that God does and every season that God allows. Perhaps this is a season for pruning and uprooting and planting something new.
This is a season to refrain from embracing so that we might welcome the embrace of the new thing God wants to do in us and through us. (3:5b) While it may feel like a heavy burden, we must remember that God is with us and will help us carry it.
Chapter three verse 14 reads, “I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear Him.” Only what God does in our churches will last forever. What humans strive to create, whether our own striving or of those who came before us, may be altered or even let go, if it isn’t helping people to turn to God.
As for us, we must heed the words found in chapter eight verses two through four: “Obey the king’s command, I say, because you took an oath before God. Do not be in a hurry to leave the king’s presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases. Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, “What are you doing?”
As we prepare to return to gathering, let us spend time in the King of Kings’ presence and listen for and obey the command He gives us as we seek the transformation of our lives and our ministry together.