Like every church, we’re impacted by COVID-19.
Our state has issued mandates on large gatherings. Local schools are closed. I’m currently completely out of toilet paper (well, not completely—but it does make for a good story). As we monitor the pandemic progress hour by hour, we’re adjusting plans accordingly.
More hand sanitizer. Less contact with door pulls. Social distancing (which really is a un-accomplishable task with junior high boys).
But when we made the call to dismiss all gatherings for the next 30 days, things went into overdrive.
You should know something about me. I’m a strategist. I think about the future, analyze all possible outcomes, and pull triggers—but only after aiming at least a little. I love fun, organic, improvised moments. But even more, I love/love a well-thought-out process that makes everything run more smoothly. Sometimes that love/love is, in reality, my first love. I miss opportunities I should’ve taken because I spend too much time thinking, planning, and controlling.
COVID-19 isn’t giving us time for the luxury of control. After considering for years what online groups might look like in our ministry, how to live-stream student services, or learning how to speak the digital language of Zoomers, I don’t have time to test these new experiments to death. What I had been pushing to the back burner—when “there was more time” or “all avenues could be considered”—became RIGHT NOW!
So, in the last 24 hours, we’ve gone from an idea to concept to execution of a digital approach to student ministry—that includes small groups and engagement strategies on social media. Necessity breeds innovation. It might also kick you in the…planning center. You will be forced to think fast and act faster. Every idea might not be well-conceived. Every moment might not leave the imprint of a beautiful memory. All leaders might not feel fully briefed. Lack of comfort might be trumped by an abundance of need.
Meanwhile, ministry will happen. Maybe better than you ever dreamed. Possibly a new paradigm will take hold. More students might find a deeper attachment to Jesus. Leaders may lean into the unknown. Jesus might surprise us and show up in unexpected ways—that’s sort-of his jam anyway.
Life is now impromptu, spontaneous, unscripted. In fact, that’s why we’ve decided to morph our ministry name to Parkview Students Unscripted. We’re counting on the fact that Jesus is an artist who will take the raw material of this mess and re-form it into something beautiful. So no matter how Corona has you running frazzled, take a deep breath. Jump into something unfamiliar. Jesus is waiting for you there…