I suppose as a pastor this is the point where I should make some grand statement about God and providence and salvation, or something. To be honest, though, I have had almost no time to reflect. I’m too in-the-moment and too wired in crisis-brain to have any profound, theologically-robust insight.
by Layton E. Williams For the past several years, the NEXT Church blog has operated on a system of recruiting monthly volunteers to curate a series of blog posts from writers they have in turn recruited focused around a central monthly theme. This model has served us well and given us countless fascinating and powerful […]
In light of God’s Grace, perhaps the question isn’t “what do you want to get out of this” or “how do you want to maximize on this opportunity”, as if a pandemic is something that we extract value and meaning out of. The Grace of God asks us instead “what is being revealed?” What do you see? What do you hear? What have you experienced? What are you going through?
There’s a very important distinction there, because there’s no wrong answer. The focus moves away from planning one’s way through a pandemic, and more on what God is doing right now, and bearing witness to it in the past tense- today has enough troubles, so how did you see God today?
To date, there have been over 1,000 xenophobia related hate crimes against our Asian sisters and brothers. I watched a video of a woman on the bus being told violently to go back to China. I thought, that is someone’s mother, grandmother, friend, spouse. We must do better. We must hold our friends facing these acts of inhumanity in light. We must be better allies. There are times when we have shown up mightily and united in the face of adversity. We can do that again. We are in uncertain times and the aftermath will last for years to come.
What if Christians saw actions like social distancing and canceled large gatherings not as inconveniences for our individual personal survival but as collective loving of our neighbors together – even while apart? Part of the problem of modern American Christianity is that we have so bought into the myth of hyperindividualism that we don’t understand working as a collective or serving in solidarity as part of faith, ironic considering the literal collective-solidarity images like the body of Christ with many members or many branches rooted in the one vine of Christ.
NEXT Church has been operating virtually for the past 7+ years, so we are super familiar with meeting online! Mostly, we have used Zoom, so we refer to that platform here, but we hope these tips will translate across different platforms. Create a clear agenda. As you are creating the agenda, be very clear about […]
NEXT Church has been operating virtually for the past 7+ years, so we are super familiar with meeting online! Mostly, we have used Zoom, so we refer to that platform here, but we hope these tips will translate across different platforms. You can do this! If you are unsure, do a test run and check […]
We at NEXT Church are committed to equipping faith leaders and congregations and much of our work is done through a virtual medium. Given this, we’ve prepared several resources that we hope pastors and churches find helpful as they seek to live out community and faith in this time of uncertainty. Find below a sermon […]
The truth is that we need to be light on our feet and open-minded to creativity and innovation; to new ways of considering how to connect with people and adapt to culture; to interpret theology and biblical understandings with the myriad of lenses available to us.
Next Church executive director and this year’s Next Church National gathering preacher Rev. Jessica Tate is a voice urging this movement.