On my way home from the church there is a steep, long hill that is about a mile long. One day I was playing with the estimated miles-per-gallon on my car, so I put my car in neutral at the top of the hill and coasted to the bottom. Unlike when I had the car in drive, I had to use the brake a couple times to stay under the speed limit. I was able to go faster and have much better gas mileage by using neutral. Coasting down a hill is easy and efficient. However, when coasting you are at the mercy of the road and the length of the incline. Eventually I had to put the car back in drive to get home. I never would have gotten to my destination staying in neutral.
I had a conversation the other day with a good friend who pastors in Arkansas. As we were trying to describe the last year of ministry, we summed it up well with the fact we have been coasting. Our lives have been put in neutral and we are coasting until we will need to put our lives back into drive. We can never get to where we want to be as a church stuck in neutral. It was nice for a little while back in March to spend a few weeks in neutral. It was easy and efficient. However, after ten months of neutral it is evident that we cannot fulfill our calling to fulfill the Great Commission with scaled back ministry and the church scattered in their homes. Our momentum is slowing, and our progress will completely stop unless we become more intentional in our ministries.
The time is coming when our society will open back up. The current restrictions cannot last forever. The vaccine is here, and it is our hope that it will at the very least get it under control if not eradicate its effects from our lives. It is going to take work for us to put the organization back into drive and regain the momentum that has been lost. We will be starting over with volunteers to help disciple our children and teach our Sunday School classes. We will be starting over with reaching those to attend these ministries. I do not expect that we will have a “kick-off” Sunday where everything immediately returns to normal and all our ministries and classes pick up right where they left off. Momentum is lost. However, we can work together to put the organization back into drive. That time is coming, and we need everyone to step up to help regain the momentum. We will not accomplish what God wants from us living off the momentum of the past.