Ever since this current season of crisis started, I’ve seen churches respond by transitioning from doing church a certain way to simply producing an online version of the same thing they’ve always done. Now, this isn’t necessarily wrong, because we’re all pivoting and learning new ways of doing things; but I believe that there is a greater dimension that we can discover if we take the time and effort to look for it.
You see, if we’re simply doing what we’re already doing, just in an online format, we’re missing out on what God wants to give the church today. There is a deeper purpose in this season than simply surviving. God wants to reveal new things, open new pathways, unleash new vehicles, and reach new people. The key behind exploring this new dimension is getting out of the templates with which we so easily limit ourselves.
I’ve always wondered why, when we as leaders are called into ministry, we’re quick to categorize our ministry expression into one of three main templates, or categories. We think, “If I’m called to ministry, I’m either going to be a pastor—or a subcategory thereof—a missionary, or an itinerant speaker.” Those are the boxes we try to fit ourselves into—and there’s nothing wrong with being one of those three; however, I’ve come to the conclusion, over the years, that God is more creative than that. His imagination and His purposes go beyond three cookie-cutter callings. He wants to do something new and never before seen through you!
I always used to think, when God does “something new,” it means He appears and does some earth-shattering thing that no one ever expected—there’s almost this mysterious, prophetic air that we put around that phrase. However, I’ve realized that, because each and every one of us are uniquely created, then by divine design, there is no point of reference for the gift that God deposited in you. Think about that!
What this means for you as a leader is that there is no competition. You were never meant to try to be the best in a certain category. If I can’t be number one in a category, then I’ll simply find a new category to be number one in. In other words, if I can’t be the number one Christian coach, maybe I can be the number one Christian coach for men. If I can’t be the number one Christian coach for men, maybe I can be the number one Christian coach for men under 30. If I can’t be that, maybe I can be the number one Christian coach for men under 30 with one leg. Do you see how it works?
During this season of crisis, we can choose to reproduce the templates and ideas that everyone else has already come up with; or we can dive deeper, and delve into the wonderful promises and purposes that God has for us and for our churches. We can simply take what we’re doing online, or we can search for new opportunities, new ground, new gifts, new projects, and new levels of health and growth. This is about more than just survival. This is about becoming everything God has called us to be; crisis is just one of the catalysts God uses in order to get us there.
Martijn van Tilborgh is the co-founder of Kidmin Nation, owner of Four Rivers Media and Kudu Publishing, and is a renowned author, speaker, and leader in the marketing and communications space. books as handbooks worldwide in leadership development.
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