Philippians. Whilst Paul’s main reason for writing his letter to the Philippians was to thank them for the gift they’d sent him, he took the opportunity to say so much more! His opinion is very clear: no matter what your circumstances are (he was under house arrest in Rome at the time), you can always […]
You may have heard someone say, “I’m just waiting for my computer to reboot, then I’ll be able to answer your question”. What they mean is that that either one part of the computer system, or even the whole thing, has been switched off and there’s a pause whilst it works out how to start again so that it will be running at its full capacity and purpose.
Here’s another definition of the same word “reboot”, but not related to computers this time: “to start something again or do something again, in a way that is new and interesting”.
How does the phrase “Church Rebooted” sit with you? Perhaps it makes us feel uncomfortable because we’re not sure what is meant by “starting again in a way that is new and interesting”. Does it mean that what was happening before was neither of those things? How about we change the word from “reboot” to “revitalise”. That means, “to give new life, energy, activity, or success to something”. Does that feel better?
The more I’ve thought about it over recent months, the more I’ve become convinced that we need a “church reboot”. To give “new life” or “new energy” suggests to me that something is already happening fully, but needs a bit of a boost. But surely the position we find ourselves in right now goes deeper than that…?
In March 2020, Covid-19 lockdown 1 started and pretty much everything that we were used to stopped. The last 18 months have been difficult in so many ways that no one was prepared for, or at the start, knew how to respond to. Pretty much everything stopped, certainly for church activities the way we were used to them being. And so the many questions that seemed to have no answers began, often concluding with a confused sense of, “Well what are we doing then?”.
We could spend all our time now scratching our heads and wondering what happened, but that would be such a waste of time and achieve nothing. We need a “church reboot” so that we can work out how to start again well and healthily!
That doesn’t mean that everything about church before March 2020 needs to be ignored so that we can start with a blank sheet of paper. That’s not what a “reboot” does. Instead, it takes what is already there, and puts it back into a fully functioning re-start mode. Whatever caused the need for the reboot will have been removed and the way ahead is clear to thrive again. How and why that all happens will be crucial.
Over the next couple of months we are going to have our own “church reboot” so that just as the key verse above says, we will know how to stand firm, mature and be confident in everything God wants us to do and to be as his church.
If we waste this opportunity to let the things that we have experienced and learnt over the last 18 months shape us and build us in confidence and maturity, we may as well pack up, give up, and go home now. But we have no reason to do that, so let’s look ahead and move forwards in the exciting ways that God leads us!
As we work through the letters that the Apostle Paul wrote to the New Testament churches, we will frame what they discovered about themselves with our church values of “BELONGING, “GROWING”, and “SERVING” so that we really can work out what we are doing and being as church, and why. That will start with looking at ourselves so that we can fully understand who we are, and so be more open and ready to look at where and who God is sending to.
2 Thessalonians. One letter wasn’t enough for the Thessalonians! They took on board what Paul had said in his first letter – hope is already secured in Christ, and He will return to make all things new. Their response went something like: “Oh! Ok. If that’s the case, we’ll sit down and wait for Christ […]
1 Thessalonians. Paul had previously visited Thessalonica, but his stay was cut short (see Acts 17:1-9). His letter sought to addresses those things that he had not previously spoken about, but were very much needed. One of Paul’s concerns was that those who had recently come to faith, and discovered their place of belonging within […]
Colossians 1: 15 – 23. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul addresses head on what biblical scholars call “The Colossian Heresy”. The small church that emerged through the mission and ministry of Epaphras came under repeated attack from those who sought to dissuade people from maintaining a consistent focus on Christ as the head […]
A focus on Harvest Thanksgiving at this point in our teaching series enables us to build a bridge between what we have focused on up to this point, and where we need to go next. So far, we have largely looked at the need to engage with “Church Rebooted” by looking at our togetherness within […]
Ephesians 1:15-23; 3:14-21. There has been a common thread running through Paul’s letters that we’ve looked at so far. In each one there is something said to bring correction, and even rebuke, over what the church had become in those places. That doesn’t happen in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Instead, his whole focus is […]
Galatians 3:1-14. In Galatians Paul challenges the thoughts that had crept into the church about the need to maintain Old Testament ceremonial practices. Instead, his theology is firmly fixed on the truth that it is by faith alone that we are made right with God, and that faith is lived out in the freedom of […]
1 and 2 Corinthians. When Paul wrote his 2 letters to the Corinthians, was he correcting (rebooting!) the ways that things were done, or the ways that people thought? We can’t really separate out the two and still read a fully coherent letter. In 1 Corinthians Paul is mostly interested in problem solving to make […]
Romans 12:1-21 When Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, he was very thorough! In his letter as we read it now, Paul spends 11 chapters focusing on how our perspective of a downward spiral of life changes when we follow Jesus. We are saved from hopelessness through faith in Jesus, not by our own […]