Back & Forth
by Dr. Todd Renner
The desert. That’s what these days have felt like for many of us: days of masks and distance and social isolation. And we’re tired of it all. We’re tired of the desert (much like the wandering Israelites of Exodus). We’re tired of everything that’s changed. And we just want to go back—back to worship and Sunday School and mission trips, back to handshakes and hugs… and, of course, donuts. In fact, without a doubt, the most common thing we keep hearing is, “I can’t wait to get back to normal." And I’ve been eager to add my hardy AMEN every time I’ve heard it!
Normal. The comfort. The safety. The solace of normal. We want to get back to that normal by which we used to be able to set our weekly schedule. We want to get back to those relationships that we didn’t know to cherish. We want to go back.
But as I’ve taken some time to reflect on “normal,” as I’ve used these days to remember the pleasant, pre-COVID days of March, I’m forced to admit that, for as nice (and comparatively easy) as those days were, I’m not sure that I want to go back to a carbon copy of that “normal.” There were things in March that I needed to change. There were things in March that I needed to do, to be. There were things then that I took for granted, needs to which I was blind. And what’s true of my own personal, spiritual, and family life holds true for the church as well. For as wonderful as our “normal” used to be, we’ve changed… at least, I hope these days have changed us. I hope, I pray that they’ve opened our eyes and deepened our walk, that they’ve crystalized and refined our spiritual perspective.
Which leads to me to introduce our new theme for WC’s fall roll-out: Back & Forth. Yes, we’re coming BACK (please note, we’re not “re-opening” because we never closed), but we’re only coming back in order to go FORTH. We’re going to be creating a new, better “normal”! As we strategically ramp back up, we’re going to be taking this opportunity to redefine who we are and what we do—all and always led by the Spirit and to the glory of God! We will absolutely be keeping (actually, growing) the standard of excellence that we’ve come to expect from WC’s services and ministries, but we’re going to do better. We’re going to be better. We’re going to be stronger…making more deeply committed followers of the way of Jesus Christ. And we can’t wait to explore this new normal with each and every one of you—because we’re all going to have a part to play!