In 2005, the Ministry Staff and Elders of Madison Christian Church met in a conference room for frank discussions about the future and direction of the church. The conclusion that we came to was that we needed to shift the paradigm. We determined that we were becoming an increasingly inwardly-focused church. We concluded that this was not what the Lord had in mind for this congregation. With much prayer, we determined that, with God’s help, we were going to shift the paradigm and become an outwardly-focused church. That gave birth to more mission trips, the Great Day of Service, Help Build Hope, increased involvement in the Groveport Food Pantry, revamped Christmas Ministries, and an end-of-year offering that we do not keep but that is used for others, etc., etc. That was a predetermined, planned, strategically and systematically implemented paradigm shift.
Today, because of the COVID-19 virus, we find ourselves at another paradigm shift. This is a shift in the way we are able to do ministry. We have not really had the opportunity to pray, plan, and strategically implement this shift. It has been thrust upon us by the current situation. For instance, I told the Elders at their March meeting that in the worst case, scorched earth, very unlikely scenario that the Coronavirus outbreak would be such that we would not be able to meet for a Sunday or two, we were ready to shift to offering our online worship exclusively. Not in my wildest dreams did I think that we would be online worship only for Sunday, March 15, and for the foreseeable future. I thank God that we have the capability to be online, and I appreciate so much those that make it possible. That’s a paradigm shift: In person services to digital. Youth Ministry and Children’s Ministry have to create an entirely different way to reach children, students, and their families. They will be using online tools to do this during this period where they cannot have in-person contact with children and students. Our Wednesday night dinners are a time of great food and fellowship before our Wednesday Night Ministries. This Wednesday we will run pre-packaged meals to cars as people drive up in front of our High School, and, of course, there will be no Wednesday Night Ministries. Before last weekend, my ministry was “high touch.” I got the privilege of being up close and personal with people in their moments of greatest joy and greatest hurt. I have now come to the place where my most valuable ministry tool (besides the Bible, prayer, and the Holy Spirit) is my cell phone. We could write pages of how our ministry paradigm has shifted dramatically.
A Greek philosopher named Heraclitus said, “Change is the only constant in life.” Things are changing. Rapidly. We will continue to do ministry in every way possible and to the best of our ability.
Please remember what (Who) never changes: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” We will cling to him in uncertain times.