What Business Are We In?

A colleague recently sent me a thought-provoking article entitled “Leading Beyond the Blizzard” by Andy Crouch, Kurt Keilhacker, and Dave Blanchard. The article posed important questions for businesses and organizations to consider in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The authors suppose that this crisis that we are currently in will significantly reshape culture like nothing anyone alive today has seen before. They forecast that we are not in a blizzard (like many first thought) during which time we hunker down to wait out the passing storm, nor is it a bleak extended season of winter in which we long for spring to eventually arrive, but rather that COVID-19 is perhaps ushering in the beginning of an ice age that could endure for years to come.
Whether or not the result of this crisis is a long winter or the beginning of an ice age, the authors suggest that organizations, including the church, need to redefine our business as COVID-19 has shut us down: “If your nonprofit organization depends on gathering people in medium or large groups – and it is truly daunting to consider how many do, whether for fundraising banquets, afterschool programs, or in the case of churches for corporate worship – you are not in the same business today. And this is not just a blizzard that you can wait out.”
Reading this paragraph gave me pause as I found myself asking the question: “What business are we in?” Is the church in the business of gathering people into crowds on Sunday mornings? If so, then the authors are correct… and I would also suggest that we have been in the wrong business! Instead, every church should be in the business of making and multiplying disciples. Every church should be in the business of helping one another to love God and people. Sunday morning group gatherings are not (or at least should not be) the business that we are in, but simply one method of accomplishing our primary business.
Has your church gotten stuck in a rut of Sunday morning rituals and routines? Has the mission of the church come to a halt because of the pandemic? Do we not know what to do when we can’t gather in person on Sundays? If so, these are indicators that it is long overdue to ask this question: What business are we in? The COVID-19 Pandemic gives us pause to rediscover our true mission and pursue new methods to best serve the fulfillment of this mission in our reshaped society and culture. I believe that churches that can pivot effectively in mobilizing people to mission in our current landscape will be well-suited to advance God’s kingdom in this season and the next… ice age or not!
Pastor Bryce Formwalt is the Director of Mission Growth for LCMC Texas District and Program Director of Harvest Workers, an online ministry training program (learn more at www.harvestworkers.net). Residing in Georgetown, Pastor Bryce is available to coach congregations on mission. Feel free to contact him with any questions or comments: 512-942-7776 or bryce@lcmctexas.org.
© 2020 Bryce J. Formwalt, All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.
May 2020