As pastors, we’ve heard it countless times last year: “Every obstacle represents an opportunity.”
If that is true, then collectively, I don’t know that I’ve ever lived through a year that has presented more “opportunities,” or as I like to call them “obstatunities.”
Though, if we are honest with one another, 2020 was the year that collectively the Big “C” Capital “C” Church, with all of its collective Christians, missed. The middle of crises, obstacles, and storms ought to be the very best time to shine the light of Christ. Collectively, our lights should have never burned brighter than in 2020. Instead, 30+% of “Christians” ran for the hills, and the leadership of the Capital “C” Church collectively was decimated emotionally and mentally.
It didn’t have to be this way.
Thankfully, we have a God who gives us second chances.
And despite everything that happened in 2020, if anything, the year pointed out that the “Christianity” that had formed our nation was at best a shadow, broken-down version.
I know the intent behind the phrase that says “We are a post-Christian nation” but statistically that’s inaccurate.
Pew Research says that in 2019, 65% of Americans still claim to be Christians.[i] That’s nearly 2 out of every 3 people. We do not have a problem identifying as a Christian. We have a problem actually living up to our calling as Christians. Many have received Jesus as their Savior, but few live as if He is really their Lord. We need a new brand of Christians that not only live with hope for the future because Jesus is Savior, but live like He is their Lord today. In other words, we need Christians to actually be greater followers — or disciples — of Jesus.
What is the single greatest opportunity before us in 2021: We have a chance to reopen Christianity!
What if we could reopen Christianity?
How would we reopen? What would we look like? What would we do? Could we start by acknowledging that we have gone far away from who the God in the Bible has called us to be? Can we use this time to refocus and come out a stronger representation of who Jesus is?
In a world filled with many good and great answers, Jesus Christ is the best answer. And if we could lead our people and not only give them, but invite them into the opportunity to experience who Jesus really is, the world would truly change.
Even though 2020 has produced many obstacles, it has also brought an incredible opportunity for us to examine thoroughly what it truly means to be Christian.
I’ve written an eBook called Reopening Christianity, along with small group materials as well. This could very easily be done as a church-wide sermon series as well. it goes live January 11th and you can join the wait list by emailing us at email@example.com. If you are a pastor and you would like a free copy of the eBook just email us firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll hook you up as well! In this study, I challenge every Christian to answer five questions that will help shape and form the brand of Christianity that we move forward with.
Here are the five questions we tackle in Reopening Christianity:
- Am I moving forward or backward?
- Am I a contributor or consumer?
- Am I playing offense or defense?
- Am I known for what I am for or against?
- Am I willing to follow Jesus as my Lord?
While the book is primarily focused on the individuals you are serving in your churches and communities, my heart is truly to help pastors succeed in challenging their people to become greater followers of Jesus. As a result, I wanted to celebrate the launch of this material by giving away a 6-part blog series (today’s introduction with five fresh blogs coming out January 11th-15th) specifically asking pastors the same questions above. We will look at these questions as it pertains to leading the church in which you serve. To make sure you are on our e-list to have this content hit your inboxes, subscribe here.
In this time where there is still great uncertainty in our world, I am certain the world needs a far greater expression of Jesus Christ.
2020 has been a year filled with debates on reopening strategies. This has been true for businesses, schools, universities, sports programs, and even churches.
Why is now the single greatest opportunity?
Simply because the mission field has never been as big as it is right now.
Our collective church numbers have been on decline for decades, but 2020 accelerated this trend at warp speed.
While it’s difficult for many of us to lead churches and compare our current numbers to what they were just one year ago, let us remember that all throughout the Bible, God shines brightest when the odds are stacked against Him.
If you need just a little bit of uplifting today, a little bit of hope, I would encourage you to read Judges chapter 7. It was in this chapter that 32000 men stood up for the Israelites to fight against the Midianite people. Yet, God had different plans. Listen to His words to Gideon:
God whittled 32000 men into a remnant of just 300 men. These 300, through the power of God inside of them, went and destroyed the rival Midianite camp. This is simply what God does: He takes a group of people that are incapable and powerless to win and invites them into a victory that they otherwise would have never experienced. God doesn’t get nervous when it appears He’s lost a little battle. God doesn’t bite His fingernails at the world’s unexpected twists and turns come at us. He remains in full control seated on His throne.
God always wins the final battle which is the ultimate renown of His name.
- Elijah went 1 against 850 on Mount Carmel.
- The widow turned a jar of oil into a lifetime’s supply of it.
- David used a sling and a stone to destroy Goliath.
- Jesus used 5 loaves of bread and two fish to feed thousands.
- Jesus saved the world by becoming a baby.
I believe the devil had a good laugh when Christ breathed His last after saying the word “tetelestai” (meaning “it is finished”) on the cross.
But the only thing that was finished on the cross Jesus hung on was the full payment of our sins. Death could not destroy Jesus. And not only that, but God used the weapon that was meant to kill Him to ultimately bring freedom to all of us. Our God will always have the last laugh.
2020 is “Tetelestai.” The devil probably had a pretty good laugh in 2020 watching so many so-called “Christians” give up on their faith and run to the corners of the earth to self-preserve. And while it can be deflating and discouraging to compare your current numbers to numbers of old, there is another way to look at them. And here it is: 2020 has stacked the odds against us like never before, and it’s because of that fact that we are perfectly positioned to see God move mightily.
The only thing that I see is the enemy presenting the single greatest opportunity for us to shine the light of Jesus in this world that we’ve ever had.
Pastor, collectively we may be smaller in number. Your church may be smaller in number. But we serve a God who has resurrecting power not only in Him, but in those that follow Him. You and your church are perfectly positioned for God to have maximum impact in this world. Not for our glory. But for His and His alone.
Let’s reopen Christianity and show the world how great our God truly is!
Pastor, are you ready to reopen Christianity?
While these blogs are written specifically for pastors and church leaders, we have an ebook Reopening Christianity and small group resources available for individuals at your church coming out January 11th! This will be a powerful small group or church-wide study. To inquire about using this as a sermon series and for bulk rates on the ebook, email us at email@example.com.
[i] “In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace.” https://www.pewforum.org/2019/10/17/in-u-s-decline-of-christianity-continues-at-rapid-pace/. 17 October 2019. Web. 6 November 2020.