What next? That was the question my brother Larry [Rev. Larry Doornbos of Vibrant Congregations] and I asked a group of church leaders throughout a post-election debrief. During the Zoom gathering participants collectively affirmed that this was an important time to bring fresh emphases to our pulpits, our conversations and our planning with the overarching hope that there would be a renewing of our life together.
Here are 6 renewal emphases for post-election ministry:
Emphasis 1: Restoring Our True Identity
Paul reminds us that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20) and that we are “Christ’s ambassadors” (I Cor. 3:20). Jesus told us to “Seek first the Kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33) and he taught us Kingdom values (Matt. 5:1-10). We must reemphasize our Kingdom identity to rediscover unity in diversity. Nationalism’s idolatry must be addressed since God isn’t on our side, but we on His (Josh. 5:13-14).
Emphasis 2: Rediscovering Shared Passions
Churches that work together stay together. Working shoulder to shoulder with other believers in common cause creates a unity greater than age, gender, race or political affiliation. Churches should look for fresh ways to work hand-in-hand as they care for the hurting, marginalized, lonely, and distraught.
Emphasis 3: Pursuing Balance
The number one concern I hear from pastors is the vitriol related to leadership decisions about reopening and mask wearing. This is the time to speak to one another in love about seeking balance that comes from gentleness and patience rather than declaration and anger. The intensity must be lowered.
Emphasis 4: Nurturing Love and Charity
The election has created woundedness, pain and isolation for many. Even within good Christian families there have been divisions over political ideology. This is a time when love and charity must return. Begin by listening compassionately after asking the simple and sincere question, “How are you doing?”
Emphasis 5: Embracing New Opportunities
With the energy and heat of the election behind us, this is a good time to concentrate on new ministry opportunities. One pastor said that 2020 dumped out his figurative ministry shoe box. Immediately some things like worship and pastoral care had to be returned to that shoebox. Now we should ask what else needs to be returned, what should be left out and what needs to be in that wasn’t previously there?
Emphasis 6: Searching for a Deeper Discipleship
One thing we can say about our past discipleship training is that it was inadequate for the challenges of 2020. Our past training didn’t raise up tempered and resilient followers of Jesus capable of stability in the face of tempestuous seas. It’s important to discuss new ways to prepare mature Christ followers.