Changing bad habits and replacing them with good habits is hard. They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. After a year of COVID we have all developed new habits that need to be examined in our life. Just ask those who have worked from home over the last year how much their daily routine has changed. Many claim to have neglected basic hygiene since they are not around others every day. The morning routine that has been a part of their life for years was replaced with habits that will not be acceptable when they return to work.
I am also seeing many bad habits that have developed within the church. Since we have been limiting social interaction, we come straight to our seat and do not visit with those around us. We distance ourselves from those around us as we leave because we unsure how to respond to someone saying goodbye. Do we shake their hand, fist bump, elbow bump, air high-five, or just stand their awkwardly? Nothing feels right so its easier to just avoid the situation. For some their new habit is to sleep in on Sunday morning and watch an on-line service in their pajamas while sipping their coffee and reading social media. Worship has become a passive experience that happens in the background. There has been no need to invite people to worship with you because you are not supposed to be gathering with friends and it just makes social distancing more awkward. Though these actions have been important in keeping people safe, they have become a habit that cannot continue as we return to normal.
There is not going to be a day when the line in the sand is drawn and COVID is declared defeated. We are seeing a gradual return to more normalcy as Spring approaches and more and more people are getting vaccinated. This will be what we see at church as we slowly begin returning to a normal schedule. I am excited as we begin making plans for ministries that will return over the next few months. It is time for all of us to begin replacing the habits we have formed because of COVID with good new habits that will help us be the light of Jesus to those in desperate need of hope around us.
As it becomes safer and we return to a more normal Sunday morning routine let us replace these bad habits. Let us begin to develop a culture of invitation and acceptance within our church. Show up for church early and help our active members and especially our guests feel welcome, comfortable, and appreciated. Invite people to attend with you and meet them in the parking lot excited to introduce them to your church family. Get back into Sunday School and make it a normal part of your Sunday worship experience. We are working to revamp our greeting ministry as we become a church excited to welcome everyone who drives into our parking lot. Now is the time to begin to think about how you will serve through our church. Do not let Satan distract you by getting you busy doing things of temporary importance instead of things of eternal importance. Now is the time to make serving Jesus the priority.
I am excited to have everyone back with us soon. The future for Del Norte Baptist Church is bright and the culture we build will determine how we bounce back from our year of distraction. Get excited! God is on the move!