I don’t know about you, but I am ready for church to get to whatever “normal” is going to look like moving forward. Yet, I also have to admit I am humbled and reminded of my selfishness when I consider where we are as a church and a country. What do I mean? Have you ever had one of those moments when you are feeling bad for yourself because of some difficult situation you find yourself in, and then you talk with a friend and find their situation is far worse than yours? When that happens, I often find myself doing a little bit of a reality check and turning my “frown upside down” by thanking God for His provision and grace in my life.
Recently, I had that experience with church, and it came in two waves. First, I was reminded how AMAZING our outdoor services have been. A congregant stopped me in the parking lot to thank me for the outdoor services. He went so far as to say “I wish we could do this every week.” I was reminded that while far from what we know as “normal,” our outdoor services can provide many of the opportunities I long for in a Sunday gathering. Talking with friends, hearing from God’s Word, and singing my heart out in worship.
Second, I received an email update from our Leawood outreach partner, Elam. These emails are often humbling. I find myself thinking “first-world problem” about so many of my irritations and frustrations. In this month’s update, the ministry shared THIS VIDEO link to their Facebook worship service. Thousands of Persian speaking individuals throughout the middle east and the world are tuning in to worship Jesus through Facebook. In other communication pieces from Elam, they have indicated growth in the Iranian church through the time of COVID.
People are coming to Christ through the virtual church. God is indeed working!
I was also reminded of a video our friend Farshid Fahti made for Christ Community early in the year.
(Read Farshid’s story.) The video reminds us that while the church gathered is ideal, we can still continue to grow, even in isolation and in smaller groups. The church all over the world is growing and strengthening in small groups, house churches, and unique expressions like “car church” (ask me about that sometime).
My prayer for us is to keep longing for what is to come. Our hope is in Jesus. But, in the meantime, let’s make the most of what God has given us and not put our spiritual growth on the bench, but be grateful for the opportunities we have.
NOTE: If you’d like to receive email updates from ELAM, feel free to SUBSCRIBE to their newsletter. Additionally, Elam’s newest magazine, IRAN and Beyond, can be found in our lobby. It contains all sorts of great stories of what God is doing.