Four “Church Questions” That Have Reached Their Sell-By Date…
Where do you go to church? and Will this…bright, shiny new thing…get us new members? are two questions those of us in church keep asking even though they have waning relevance in our fast-changing culture. This week, a third question:
Week 3: What is God Doing Next?
Among the most important words Jesus ever spoke was the word “today.” It is so tempting to want to peer around the corner of the future, especially in the time of intense change and disruption. But looking for tomorrow, wanting to know “what’s next” often misses or rushes past the truth that God is active today bringing life to the world. The “next” question can lead us to be like the disciples after the ascension, looking up at the sky where Jesus used to be and thereby missing what the spirit of the risen Christ as already doing in their midst. The post-Easter gospels accounts stress that Jesus had already gone on ahead. Today is the day for God’s activity, not only tomorrow. “What’s next?” needs to be exchanged– even in seasons of challenge– with what is God doing now.
“Next language” can also lead us in thinking that this transition will pass and we can re-establish stability having crossed a shaky bridge. What if God’s feast will be held on the bridge? What if this challenging transition time isn’t temporary, but a new normal in which God is calling us to live with joy and love and hope? What does it mean for our churches, our ministry, our lives if God wants us to live today as the day of “God’s next?”
Next week: Before a final question, John 21 and how that post-Easter text can help us with today!