But Careful What you Learn!

“A day without learning is a day wasted.”


This post is a follow up to my last post “But Did We Learn Anything?”

As I wrote in my last post, Kentucky is on the way to recovery and that means that society, including churches, are starting to open back up.

I will be honest and tell you that this has caused me a little anxiety as the day draws near.  For one, I am concerned for the safety of our members.  It would break my heart to know that one of my brothers or sisters in Christ got sick, hospitalized, or even lost their life because we allowed the virus to spread at our services.

But my other concern exists on the spiritual level.  I have a deep fear that when this pandemic is finally behind us and we are back together, that things will just go back to the way they were.

Let me explain…

I am afraid that when all is said and done, we will have not learned anything from the experience, or worse, what we have learned that will actually be harmful to us.  So I want to give you the opposite of my previous post and show you 3 things I do not want you to take away from this pandemic.

1.  Wanting everything to just go back to normal

Do you remember how great and perfect everything was before the pandemic hit?  No?  Me neither.  Everyone I know was stressed, overworked, and frustrated.  Going into March I had a calendar so full that I did not know when I would be able to keep up with the maintenance of my own home.  At church we were extremely worried that the few volunteers that we did have were going to disappear as their spring/summer calendar took them out of church almost every weekend.  All of us were tired, running on fumes, with very little hope of relief.

Do you honestly want to go back to that?

If this pandemic has done one thing, it has brought me closer to my family.  We have been allowed to stay home, enjoy time with each other, and rest.  I don’t want that to go away.  Yes, I hate that my daughters have missed opportunities to compete.  I am saddened that they did not get to celebrate the end of the school year.  But I am not sad that I have enjoyed more meals around the dinner table.  I have loved getting to cook with my eldest and play games with my middle daughter.  It hasn’t been perfect, but I realize that busyness does not make me a good parent nor a good person.

And I will not forget that lesson when everything opens back up.  It is time to say “no” to being busy and “yes’ to being with family & setting our own priorities.  (which should include the church!)

2.  The church is here to entertain me

The pandemic has caused church leadership to seek out new ways to engage the congregation and share the Gospel.  Overall, this has been a great thing that has allowed the gospel to go forth like it never before.  Many churches are doing everything they can to get the message on the radio, television & internet, but can there be unexpected consequences to this?

A drawback to putting all of our services on a screen is that it can become just another form of entertainment.  We live in the age of Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+.  There is always something to watch; always something to listen to.  There is always something to distract us.  If something is not holding my interest, then I can just switch over to something else or allow it to continue while I look at my phone.  But what happens when church services get lumped into the rest of the distractions?

If I don’t like what I am hearing from my pastor or music leader, then I can just switch to another church to see if they are doing a better job.  Suddenly “church” becomes all about me and my entertainment.  My preferences take precedence and I can hop around until I find what I like.

Make no mistake, the churches themselves have to take part of the blame because we chose to play this game.  Many churches have invested a lot of time, energy, and money in order to create professional “shows” that will keep the viewer engaged.  But the church was never intended to become some sort of media outlet, and we cannot reduce the church to entertainment when we gather together again.

Look at the description of the church that we find in the book of Acts, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (2:42) None of this includes entertainment and all of it involves the participation of the disciples.

The church has to shake off the notion that we have become the “audience”.  Instead, we are the body (Rom 12:5) and as the body we have to work together!

3.  I am doing just fine.

“Wait, pastor…  Don’t you want us to be going fine?”

Well, yes, in the sense that I don’t want you suffering, but I do not want you to be deceived into believing “fine” is the best you can be.  

In the Garden of Eden, the serpent questioned Eve regarding the commands of God.  When Eve told the serpent that they would die if they disobeyed God’s command, he responded, “Surely, you will not die!” (Gen 3:4) The serpent convinced Eve that she (and Adam, who was with her) would be “fine” if they disobeyed God.  He convinces us of the same thing now.

I have no doubt that there have been many who have not watched a single online service or worshipped God in any way since we began social distancing; others have slowly drifted away as other things took their attention.  The Enemy is going to try and convince us that we too are doing “just fine” without God, worship, or the church in our lives.  He wants us to believe that we do not need all that stuff to live a fulfilling life and that God wants us to be happy above all else.

But this is a bold-faced life!  Jesus reveals to us in Matthew 7 what happens when we walk away from a close relationship with God.  He says, “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” (v. 27)  Eventually, we will not be doing “fine”, and if our lives are not built upon the rock that is Christ then we will fall and fall hard.

Please don’t allow the Enemy to lull you into thinking you are “fine”.  Instead, seek to be like Christ, and He will do amazing things in your life!

So what have you learned from this whole event?  Has it made you to be more dependent on Christ or less?  Are you longing to be a part of the body or are you comfortable being entertained?  Are you ready to take control of your priorities and your home, or will you allow things to just go back to “normal”?

It’s up to you, but I’m praying for you!