Change Will Be Coming

March 31, 2022

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”
Isaiah 43:19

Spring is here, and Easter is just a few weeks away. The weather is getting warmer (in fits and starts), and soon we will see new life begin to bloom all around us. We also appear to be emerging from a sort of COVID winter into a gentler season of the pandemic. I won’t say that we are done with the coronavirus, but things seem to be shifting into a new phase with regard to how we manage things. Masks are coming off in many places (including, optionally, at our worship gatherings on Sundays), infection rates seem to be in long-term decline, and while the disease is still showing up, it is not threatening to overwhelm our health services the way it was this past winter.

And so, emerging from all this, I am looking around and wondering about our little church community. This society has seen some things in its history. You all and those who came before you have not only witnessed much, but also accomplished a great deal. And I want to honor that history. And I also want to move forward from it.

I worry that we sometimes look around and see where we are now, primarily in terms of where we once were. We have fewer members, fewer students in our school, and fewer people in worship on Sunday. In terms of numbers, we were declining even before the pandemic hit us hard, as it has so many other churches and other organizations. But the pandemic was like tossing an anvil to someone struggling to swim. It accelerated a process that has been impacting church attendance worldwide for some time now.

And now I worry that our view of empty pews may distract us from seeing the people who are here, today, worshiping and serving in today’s church. I worry that a desire to “get back up to zero” could be a weight that holds us back, putting us in a mode that seeks more to survive than to thrive. Friends, we are never going “back” to the way things used to be.

But we can go forward. Look around you. The people you see serving, worshiping, and recreating together today–this is the church. This is where we start. Call this the new day zero, the new square one. Let’s draw a line across the ledger and begin again.

And think about this: if we were starting a brand new church (a monumental task, I can tell you from experience), then being able to start it with the people and resources we currently have would feel like a tremendous blessing! What could such a newly planted church accomplish?

It’s a new day, and a new spring for us at the Washington New Church. Please join me in looking for ways to take this approach. In putting away reminders of past “glories” to make room for new dreams of our future.

And yes, this is a warning that changes will be coming. We should honor the past that got us this far. But we need to move forward from there and not chase what once was. I invite you to help create the next generation of this church. And I ask for your patience as we experiment with new ways of doing things. And not everything will change. Our dedication to the Lord and to His Word as the center of what a church is all about will not go away.

Personally, I find it exciting to enter into the new day not knowing exactly what will come of it, only that it is ours to make of it what we will! I hope you are able to feel that excitement with me. Let’s try some stuff out. Let’s build a new church. And let us trust all the while the Lord’s final words to His followers in the Gospel of Matthew:

“And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20

Rev. Glenn “Mac” Frazier
Washington New Church, 2022-03-24

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