It is time to shift. You may have heard or read these words before. It is quite common to hear that statement these days. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly caused everyone and everything to shift. COVID-19 has forced the church outside of its comfort zone and into unfamiliar spaces. This is not a bad thing. I think it is a good thing. We need to move outside the familiar and learn something new. COVID-19 has pushed us to do that. Another commonly used word is pivot. I have heard several lectures using that term over the last year or so. The point is that it is time to shift. It is time to change.
Organizations change all the time. In fact, they must change if they want to live and excel in an ever-changing world. Our world is constantly changing. Technological advancements over the most recent years have pushed us into radical change. Conversing with people has even changed. There was a time when dialogue happened primarily face to face. That is not the case anymore. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube have become the norm. These are the modern channels of communication today. Another significant thing to remember is that these social media and digital platforms literally connect us to the world. In a matter of moments, we can see firsthand what is happening around the corner, across the country, and around the world.
We are connected in both new and fragmented ways. But the point is that all of this has occurred because the world has changed. How people engage the world around them, their friends and their family has changed. In turn, the church is challenged to make the shift. The church is challenged not only to utilize technology to spread the gospel, which is important but also to shift toward God’s purpose for it. I told you earlier that organizations change all the time. I want to revisit this point for a moment. Organizations live for change. They plan, strategize, budget, organize, and prepare ahead of time to make the shift. The church is no different. God is in the business of changing people. The church is not just an organization or business, which it is both, but it is primarily God’s representative on the earth. The church is the pillar and ground of truth (1 Timothy 3:15). The church is the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). The Church is God’s flock (John 10:14-16). The Church is God’s family (Ephesians 2:19).
It is through this church that God wants to change the world. But how can we change the world if we detest the idea of change ourselves? We must make the shift as well. What do I mean by shifting anyway? For starters, it means changing our mindset. Sometimes the church cannot grow and make a greater impact because the people who comprise the church have deficient ways of thinking about things. Here’s an example of what I mean. In Numbers 13, God instructs Moses to send twelve leaders, one representative from each of the tribes, to Canaan (the promised land) to spy out the land. Their task was to “see what the land is, and whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, and whether the land that they dwell in is good or bad…” (Num. 13:17-20). However, the spies came back to Moses and his brother Aaron explaining that the land was good for food; it flowed with milk and honey. It was fortified, but there was only one problem: the people that occupied the city were bigger, stronger, and the Israelites would be unable to overcome them, according to these ten spies.
These spies continued saying, “we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them” (v. 33). The entire congregation began to believe this negative report of the spies. The saying is true: It only takes one apple to spoil the bunch. The Israelites did not realize that they had mightier power available to them. Their view of themselves did enormous damage to their ability to obtain victory over their enemies. Imagine what God could do through us today if we stopped looking at ourselves as “grasshoppers” and our obstacles as “giants.” Paul, the apostle, said, “we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:1-2). I told you before that God is in the business of changing people. The church is people. So God wants to change people and then use those same people to change other people. It is a constant cycle of change. The shift is on. The question is will we make the shift, or will we see ourselves the way our opposition sees us? We can change for the better. We can improve and be the kind of people who change everything around us because God loves us and lives inside us.