Bottom Line: The message never changes, but our methods will.
No one could’ve imagined what we are currently facing in our nation at the beginning of this year. We all rang in a new year and new decade with the hopes that it would be the best year for our ministries. Many of our sermons and themes were about having a 20/20 vision. We were in focus and all of the sudden COVID-19 seems to have blurred our vision in such a short amount of time. For the past two weeks many of us haven’t met in our houses of worship nor have we engaged with our students physically. We have been ordered by our government to quarantine and remain distant from others. At foresight this is a nightmare for the church however, at the same time I believe this is the greatest opportunity the church has ever had. We are now out of our element and buildings and having to take on a very evangelistic approach. We have gone from a “come and see” church to the “go and tell” church.
There is a narrative in scripture that lends to this notion that our message doesn’t change but our approach certainly does. God is calling us into deeper waters in order to see the greatest harvest the church has ever seen. In the Gospel of Luke chapter 5 Jesus shows up at the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Peter, James, and John, who were fishermen, had just returned from a fishing trip that had lasted all night. They were tired and were washing their nets. Jesus sits inside Peter’s boat and begins to teach the crowds. After teaching He looks over at Peter and this is what Luke 5:4 says; “4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” For many of us reading this, it seems like a simple command to follow. Nevertheless, we have to understand what Jesus was asking. He was asking a seasoned fisherman to take his ship into deeper waters to fish. Seasoned fishermen did all their fishing at night and close to shore. This request had to have sounded absurd to Peter. I can imagine how tired Peter must’ve felt and the thought of taking his clean nets back out to sea just seemed ridiculous.
We are in a season in which I truly believe that the Lord is calling us into deeper relationship with him. Many of us know how to do church. Whether you are new to Youth Ministry or not, it’s safe to say that you have a good understanding of church dynamics. We have our order or service, planning center, and our agendas dialed in. Just like Peter and the other fishermen we may have felt tired from the constant redundancy of ministry. Our gathering became predictable and we were all searching for ways to engage with students. COVID-19 has forced us to think outside the box and be able to extend our reach to not only our students, but their peers as well.
We are in a season in which we may feel tired, confused, and uncertain. However, take heart because Jesus is in our boat. He is telling us to cast our nets once again and this time it’s going to look different. The message never changes, but our methods will. After Perter dropped his nets he and the others were able to bring in their largest catch of fish ever. So much so that even the other boats got some of the blessing. Last week I was so encouraged to see many of our groups go live or post devos. You have highlighted and elevated your worship team, your students, and even gave your leaders a greater platform to share. We have become more fishers of men in this past week than ever before. Your digital reach has had the ability to reach the unreachable. And though this may be temporary it is a lesson in understanding that God knows where the fish are. He leads these fishermen to a great harvest and I believe that He will do the same for His church. After all it’s not our efforts that save people but His unending grace.
I encourage you to continue to cast your nets through different social media platforms. Engage with your leaders, students, and their peers. Continue to share the hope of Jesus in everything you do. We are all in this together. It’s no longer about who has the coolest band, youth room, or buses/vans. It’s about the Youth Worker that is willing to be SOCIAL in a time of PHYSICAL distance. Let’s continue to build relationships and build the Kingdom.
I encourage you to read Luke 5:1-11.
Praying for you and your ministry,