The Pros and Cons of our Time Apart 

The past three months have been challenging for everyone. Pastors did not get a pass on this challenge either. One of the hardest decisions I have ever made as a pastor came on the third week of March this year. I had to meet with our leadership team and make the difficult decision to cancel church for 2 weeks. Little did I know that those two weeks would turn in to six weeks. During this time, I have seen positive things that have come from our church’s time apart, but unfortunately, I have seen some negative signs as well. Today I find myself a little bit anxious. This anxiousness is made up of hopeful anxiousness as well as dread.  

 The Pros: 

One of the greatest positives that we have witnessed during this crisis we’ve all endured is the saturation of the Gospel of Christ across our Land. There have been Church’s Live-streaming and uploading their services and sermons these past several weeks that have never done so in the past. This can only be viewed as a positive. Many pastors have been forced to rethink the importance of technology and the free resources available to promote their church and broadcast the Gospel of Christ.   

 I have had numerous folks within our church family express to me that they had no idea how much they had taken corporate worship and fellowship for granted. Many of these were faithful to attend most services. I as well as others have missed the privilege of physical interaction. Who would have thought that a handshake, a hug, or a meal at a restaurant was so needed? These findings I believe are a positive for us. How so? Well, when the opportunity comes back around to participate in the things that we have lost, I am confident that many of us will remember the time that we did not have those privileges available to us. 

 Christians know now better than ever that God is indeed all that we have, however, He is indeed all that we need. We prepared as a Church for a financial shortfall during our time apart, but God has blessed in a mighty way through His people. How can this be explained?  Church History reveals to us that when the pressure is turned on, the cream of the crop within the church rises to the top. This season is no different. I have witnessed many Christians dig into their faith. They have remained faithful to gather their family around the computer, smart T.V., or a cell phone to stay connected via Live-stream services. Christians have stayed faithful to give to the Lord, plug in to online Bible studies, and many have attempted to stay connected to their brothers and sisters in Christ. This has been refreshing to witness as a Pastor!  

 

The Cons: 

With all the positives, as a pastor, I too see the negative effects of being apart. This is from one pastor’s perspective. The first week we were apart, we had a spike in our Online views like never seen. The next week, we saw good numbers, but less numbers. Each week that has passed has revealed a little less online traffic for Live stream than the week before. 

  There are so many things that are stake when we meet corporately. We join in the Mission. We join in Global and domestic Missions as well. We share and bear one another’s burdens in prayer. We celebrate one another’s victories and answered prayers. There is a level of accountability that kind of hangs in place when we come together to God’s House. Good routine takes place when we meet corporately. Our Children live, learn, and grow together in the Lord at Church. There is a sense of climax to a person pouring their self into a lost person for a time and then they finally agree to come to church with them. That is a huge miss too. The deafening celebration of someone being brought from death to life is missed when we don’t come together in corporate worship. I could go on and on. 

 Then there are the spiritual negatives of not coming together corporately. God’s model for the Church is people together. His model has an under shepherd/pastor in place. That pastor studies and labors over the word and delivers it to the Church. Vision is cast from the pulpit. Conviction from the leadership is also witnessed behind the pulpit. The people of God get to witness the life of their under-shepherd. This cannot be duplicated on a screen, phone call, text, or email.   

 The lack of interaction and fellowship of corporate gathering affects people in a negative way. We begin to lose our sense of responsibility to one another. We begin to lose our sense of responsibility to the lost around us. If we’re not careful, we will begin to think that these new ways of “doing church” are just as good as the old ways of corporate worship, fellowship, and being fed. This simply is not true. Had it been true, we would have seen the Church all separated throughout the New Testament. Christians draw strength from one another, and we are better together than we are apart. There is no sickness, disease, pandemic, or any other unexpected crisis that gives us a permission slip to disarm and dismantle the Church.  

 My heart’s desire is this. May we take the positive effects of our time apart and grow them and turn them into disciplines that we will never break again. May we never take for granted the many important reasons why we gather corporately. As for the negatives, let us not find our self so apt to make provision for these negatives in our life. Let our new norm not include the notion that Church and corporate gathering gets tossed out the window. I believe some are on the cusp of a Great Awakening in their personal life with the Lord. This is great! However, I also believe some will never recuperate spiritually from all the negative implications endured by being separated from their church family. The missing link is YOU. Will you settle for this “new norm?” Or will you open yourself up for God to work an incredible work in you. I pray that we all learn everything that we need to from our time of separation.  

Something to think about: 

 

Corporate Worship, Fellowship, and Spiritual feeding can only be imitated, but is CANNOT be duplicated. 

 

Blessing’s, 

Pastor Ancel  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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