In Philippians, Paul’s leadership is centred on Christ’s leadership of the Church. Each chapter of the book begins with Paul pointing the Philippians to the Head of the Church, Jesus.
Paul continually points the Philippians to Christ out of his dynamic, ongoing experience of the risen Lord, through the gospel from the Scriptures, by the Spirit.
A lot of elders and pastors are ministering in this unprecedented moment and asking:
'What comes next?'
'What does church look like in Level 3 and beyond?'
Throughout the letter, Paul is ministering into the moment by encouraging and praying for the Philippians. At the same time, he is preparing them for a difficult future and planning to send his team members to them.
Ministering in the moment and preparing for the future are not an ‘either or’ for Paul but a ‘both and’. Each are built on the foundation that Christ leads the Church and will continue to do so. Under Christ’s leadership, how do we serve in this moment, and lead our church families into what is ahead?
Preparing to lead in a post-lockdown world
After the Christchurch earthquake, Civil Defence worked through three phases of response: Rescue, Recovery and Rebuild.
The Rescue phase was weeks, the Recovery phase was measured in months, and the Rebuild phase planned for years. In order to make this plan work, Civil Defence mobilised for the Rescue while also preparing for Recovery and the Rebuild phase.
As church leaders under the lordship of Jesus, how do we minister in this Level 4 lockdown moment? While also preparing for ministry and mission in Level 3 and beyond?
In the light of today's government's announcement about what Level 3 will look like, how do we minister in the moment of these days, and plan for the months and years ahead, all at the same time?
A helpful way of framing this might be to think of this extraordinary season in three stages (see the chart below):
Respond: In Level 4 Lockdown we've had to radically change our practice, learn new skills and adapt quickly.
Recalibrate: As we transition out of lockdown we'll be adjusting slowly to new limitations and opportunities, making decisions about ways of doing and being the Church.
Replenish: The effects of the pandemic will be ongoing for our churches, campsites and support ministries, as well as our cultural and societal norms. How do we as God's people speak and bring the gospel into the deficit many will be going through emotionally, spiritually and physically? How do we take the gospel opportunities in front of us?
We’ve developed a tool to help you discern and plan for what comes next, click on the button above. You're welcome to take it and adapt it for your church, ministry, campsite or group.
As World War II drew to a close, Kiwi troops and nurses returned home. As a country, we put our families back together as best we could, we remade our lives and got on with it.
As a movement we took the gospel and, with the Spirit’s leading, applied it to a very different New Zealand. We applied it with great creativity, agility and adaptability. We applied it within churches and we applied it amongst churches, we applied it to a very different social and economic environment. We applied the gospel at great personal cost.
Under God’s good hand the result was gospel growth flourishing across Aotearoa. As we pray and plan under the leadership of Jesus, it's my heart that he would lead us into a fruitful season of future gospel ministry.
Ngā mihi nui,