June has arrived and with it a return to the pre-pandemic world. The CDC has announced that fully vaccinated people can return to usual activities. Restaurants are seeing patrons return. A news report says vacations are being planned, seats on flights are selling out. And people are beginning to return to church. I hope you’re one of them. It’s time.
That means soon, more and more, a return to many familiar activities. Connection Groups (Sunday School for the traditionalists) have been meeting. More are returning. It’s time for you to return too. Usual but absent for the past year activities are coming back. If you haven’t seen the ramp-up for VBS you either haven’t been paying attention to emails and social media posts or you haven’t been here. It’s time for you to do both. Besides VBS more children’s ministries are planned and more will be on the calendar soon. For the first time in a few years, a children’s ministry intern will join us this summer to help with outreach to children. In middle and high school ministries Buddy has a full calendar of activities planned. Students will go to camp this summer for the first time in a while. Wednesday night Dive-Ins happen soon. Mondays will be a time of mission and outreach done by our teens. Other student ministries are planned. Wednesday Evening Bible Study has returned to our building. It’s Wednesday at 6:30 pm in our conference room. You should come to join us. Soon little things like a Sunday Worship outline will be available, though it likely will have a different format.
Some things, however, are different now and always will be. The pandemic has altered behavior. Some people are more comfortable now with social distance. For them fewer touches are preferable. We have to recognize that and show love in other ways. Some changes have propelled us into the future whether we wanted to go there or not. Most of our offerings are received online now. I’m thankful we’ve had that avenue for faithful giving. You can, and are encouraged to, drop your offering in an offering plate as you leave, but online giving will be the preferred means for most. Another change, less visible but just as dramatic, is we are now an online church as much as we are an in-person church. More people worship with us online than in person. Recently I met a person I didn’t know but who knew me. I asked how. He told me he and his wife worship with us every Sunday. We are their church of choice but their choice is online worship. At least for now. The fact that we exist in cyberspace, as well as physical space, means we must look and sound differently. And so does our dramatic need to focus on being younger. We must be a younger church. Must. And that means we must adjust how we present ourselves so younger people feel they belong. You have to decide if you care enough to let that happen. Our old bulletin had a line you may not remember. It said that we are here to invite a new generation to join us in the kingdom of God. A new generation. I hope you see the need for that. It’s time.