Rodney’s Reflection: What’s Next?

In the last month, I have had three incidents at my house (oh, the joy of home ownership I know.) But when the third one happened, all I could think was “what’s next.” It’s like the old saying, “When it rains, it pours.” 

At the beginning of the summer, I and probably most of you were thinking and maybe even feeling, a new normal. I anticipated with the increased vaccinations and low spread rate this fall would be different from last. Then this next wave happened.  And again, we are forced to reevaluate everything and consider, “What’s next?” 

The church staff and leadership has spent a significant amount of time and energy over the last 18 months trying to figure out “what’s next” when it comes to worship, ways to be in community, and how to continue to impact our community.  We had to pivote, adapt, and innovate.

I know I don’t have all the answers. I know “what’s next” is going to change as we are still living in liminal space. We haven’t reached a new normal yet. In addition to attending clergy gatherings, webinars, and talking with church leaders at Aldersgate and in our community, I also have been reading books. Books like: 

They have challenged me and frustrated me because I, like most people, like to be comfortable. I like to operate from my proven ministry experience over the last 20 years. 

However, one message that is clear and consistent in Christian leadership and in leadership materials: everything has changed and innovation is key to the future of our church.Kay Kotan said it this way in her recently released book, Being the Church in a Post-Pandemic World, 

“Many churches feel a natural desire to return to the familiar, comfortable patterns of the past. But churches that embrace this time of disruption as a catalyst for lasting change are most likely to be vital in the post-pandemic world.” (Kay Kotan)

Kay’s words are a constant reminder to me, to embrace the disruption. To remind you and reassure anyone that will listen, I too feel the desire for comfort, and for the church we had before the pandemic. However, we are called to lean into discomfort, consider our resistance to change, and act accordingly so that we might be the church that impacts the community and the lives of people today and the future through Jesus Christ. 

What’s next?  

  1. There will continue to be change, disruption, and challenges we will face in this pandemic and in liminal space. 
  2. Pray for our staff, Ad Council, and Core Leadership as they seek to fulfill the mission of the church. Pray for Patience and Wisdom for our leaders. 
  3. Take time to ask questions with staff and leaders to better understand why things are the way they are right now. 
  4. Finally, engage wholeheartedly in ministry with each other. 
    1. RE-connect or connect for the first time in a small group
    2. Read emails and stay connected to what’s happening. (Weekly emails are only getting opened by 40% of our people.)
    3. Pray for me and our leaders. Don’t like something, don’t understand it, or think it is completely wrong? Pray about it and come have a conversation. 

I am excited and nervous about what is next. 

I am excited because of you and the love this church shows to each other and our community every week. I know there are greater things still to come. I am excited by the commitment we have seen in your generous support. 

I hope you will join me and the leadership of the church (Staff, Core Leadership, & Ad Council) in working together on what’s next!

Blessings,

Rodney Whitfield
Senior Pastor