What is coming next in the life of the church?

Remote Pastors? I really doubt it! The sheep will never agree to having a shepherd who is not physically present to watch over them, feed them and meet their every need (PS – a pastor’s job is to equip, not feed). Sheep prefer the shepherd to be their own personal servant. They often act and respond in a manner that shouts – “This is my shepherd; I cannot live and move and have my being without him!” They look to the pastor for sustenance, safety, and guidance, but this is the role of the Great Shepherd. We can never replace the Great Shepherd; we are simply His representative and ambassador. I think it is safe to say that the shepherd will never be replaced by a robot or a digital image. Nope, no remote pastors!

Remote Staff? Not likely either, but some pastors of large tier churches feel this has already happened. The youth pastor and the youth are all the way across campus in a separate building, having separate worship, hearing age-specific messages and focused on separate goals. When the staff are allowed to lead in ways that are not compatible or complementary to the mission and vision of the entire church body, conflict is brewing. The church family needs unified leadership and willing compliance to the plans of God and the movement of the Holy Spirit. We need equippers and disciplers to prepare the church for the next generation.

Remote members? Hum? This adaptation has been altering our congregations for the last two years and it is continuing to happen even as I write. We see members who prefer attending church via laptop or tv, drinking coffee in their pajamas while listening to the sermon, and feeling free to take a bathroom break without the embarrassment of others judging their movement during the message. They like sending in their tithe and fulfilling their monetary obligation. For some, this is their way of satisfying God. For others it is a method for offering adoration to our Lord. Still for others, it is like offering indulgences hoping to gain a plot in heaven. But what is lost when members log in remotely all the time? Fellowship, relationships, pooled wisdom in Bible Study classes, a symphony of voices raised in adoration to our Great God and Father, the sharing of what God is doing in the lives of other believers, and the adrenaline of celebrating the transformation of a lost wanderer into an adopted child of the Heavenly Kingdom.

But wait! I believe remote services should be a continual part of the church’s ministry, maybe forever. The main purpose is for reaching those who are yet-to-be-saved! It is for those who are sick, shut in, the “not-yet-comfortable returnees,” and those around the globe.  Jesus knew that “remote only” is not THE BEST option, that is why He sent us the Holy Spirit, but if being remote reaches the lost and glorifies our Lord, then maybe we should hang on to it until He says it’s okay to stop!

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