What is God Up To During the Pandemic?

Written by Becky Perkins

I was asked to write a blog. It was to be a blog without a theme, scripture, or focus. I was told to write what I wanted to write. I decided it was time to share what has happened in the life of a Director of Education at Wesley Chapel during a pandemic! Yes, it has been hard, trying at times, not easy, but in the midst of the struggle, God has worked and answered prayer.
 
Pre-pandemic, I remember telling our pastor that I was very concerned because we did not have many babies and preschoolers in our children’s ministry. I was concerned that this was the case because we did not have young parents in a class or a small group. I had been praying about that situation for a while and was looking for someone to fill a role of starting new classes and growing ministries. And finally, God spoke and I listened. I am sure God was speaking all along the way, but the “I listened” part was not happening. Once I listened, and obeyed what He was telling me to do, then God was able to start moving and doing a work that only He could do. You see, I was not willing to obey because it took some time and effort on my part, and I was not wanting to struggle through the growth process again of rebuilding groups and teams. 
 
During the pandemic, God has been bringing new people to Wesley Chapel. Yes, during a bad and hard time, God is working. Several of the new people are young adults with children. April 2021, a new Sunday school class was started, now called, “Growing in Faith”. The class began with about 8 people, and it has grown so much that they had to change rooms to handle the growth. With some personal training and direction, the class has gained 2 new teachers of the Word. God encouraged Faith Development leaders and individuals, who are starting their faith journeys, to pray for direction. A “Parenting Through the Phases” class has started on Wednesday nights, a new mom’s small group every other Thursday night, and He inspired team leaders to add people to the children’s ministry team, to the youth ministry team, and adult education team. I know that there are several other places these people could be on a Sunday morning, Wednesday evening, and during monthly meetings for these teams. The culture today calls for their attention to so many other places and needs. There is a reason these young adults are here at church. Why are they here and what is it that draws them to church?
 
First, I must mention, that every one of the people I talked with after their first visit to Wesley Chapel came back because they felt so welcomed and recognized by the greeters, hospitality, children’s desk servants, and others in the worship service. They feel drawn to Pastor Tony’s preaching style. I have learned they desire to know how to be good parents, they have a need for friends their own age who are searching as they are, and they want to know what God has to say to them concerning their careers, family, and the world around them. They are not much about a denomination or the organized church. They are about the reality of the world they are living within, and they are about serving other people who are in need. They desire to make a difference in their own lives, the lives of their family and in the world around them. The biggest thing I have noted is their desire to study from God’s Word and know what it says to them. They don’t necessarily want to be told what to do and believe, they want good open discussion without criticism and with care of each other, so that they can form their own beliefs. They show a love for the Lord that is authentic. In the midst of this movement from the Lord, a couple young men have felt that God is calling them into ministry! How exciting for we at Wesley Chapel who are watching this movement.

 

Does this generation of the 21st century do ministry, read scripture and lead classes as we did in the 20th century? Absolutely not. Let me share what I have had to learn. I have had to learn how to get into their world, into their backgrounds, and get to know them in a personal way, as the people they are on a day by day basis. I have had to learn how to talk with them, not talk at them. I am learning to do a lot of listening, keeping my mouth shut and really listen. I allow them to ask me questions, then I answer. Most of the time, people need to talk to hear themselves. In discussion and listening to one another, they figure out what God is saying to them. You see, the younger generation was not taught as we were taught in school. We sat and absorbed information in a classroom, memorized the information, and repeated the information back on paper for a test. Sometimes the information stuck and other times, we just learned for that period of time. The younger generation have sat in classrooms that encouraged discussion, listening, and how to figure out the information that was being taught. They have formed their beliefs and opinions from organized self-discovery. I have had to learn how they communicate. Texting is the favored mode of communication, emails are too long, and they don’t get on a computer to read and work with lengthy emails. They communicate, purchase items, do banking, and do all of their business from their phones. I am sure they are not doing it perfectly, but did we do it perfectly in our generation? When developing leaders, we have to let them struggle through the wealth of information, experiment with it, not change their actions and how they learn. We must allow them to figure it out in God’s timing how He would want them to transform into men and women of the faith. They soon figure it out and they will administer the information and beliefs to grow along on the Discipleship Pathway of their lives.

 

God is at work in the world around us, it just looks different from generations past. I am reminded of the scripture, “In the last days God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams”. (Acts 2:17) It is the young men and women who will see visions, they are the ones with the hope for the future.

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