(This entry is part of an ongoing collection of blogs that examine the future of congregations post-COVID19. Each entry forms itself around a question looking for clarity or even answers.)
It may be so obvious that you might miss it: Post-COVID, our congregations will retain their place as centers for social intelligence. You may think about that fact in different terms, but what takes place in your congregation’s life can help people of all kinds get what they need to operate as (God’s) emotionally healthy people in any context.
Think about this personally: Where did you learn that forgiveness—alongside repentance and confession—works really well? Along your life’s journey, whose example kept you centered on the welfare of others? What else is good about the Good News? What has kept you from the frustrations of an unmanageable lifestyle? What is there about praying that has helped you practice listening? Where else in life do you receive (God’s) useful wisdom once a week?
We don’t normally think about the purpose of the Church as developing social or emotional intelligence. Instead, we speak of “Christ-like living” or “loving others as God has first loved us.” But think about this matter in terms of basic human needs: Worship and instruction in the Word provide skills, attitudes and knowledge about living well amongst others. We help each other set aside self-idolatry. We learn how to deal realistically with despair or anxiety. In any congregation, no matter how it’s been affected by this pandemic, Law and Gospel are proclaimed as Good News from God—gospel that works!
So think about this: How could your congregation share that benefit with people who have lost a good share of their social or emotional intelligence because of COVID19? What’s especially noteworthy about your capabilities to repair, restore, rejuvenate or reform the injured core of people who need emotional (spiritual) healing?
Most likely, you already know how to do this! Pretty exciting, hmm?
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