The monsoon season in the Arizona desert is an extraordinary time of transformation and new life. Sudden torrential rains saturate the arid landscape, dry valleys become rivers, dusty mountain sides turn verdant green, and dormant flowers bloom in vibrant colors. Given the new appearance of the landscape, it’s almost difficult to remember what it used to look like.
Experiencing the monsoon season gave me a new and clearer appreciation of Isaiah 43:18-19:
“Do not remember the past events,
pay no attention to things of old.
Look, I am about to do something new;
even now it is coming. Do you not see it?
Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert.” (Emphasis mine)
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the familiar to give way to the unexpected and the resulting disorientation has caused many to seek God. People have come to acknowledge the spiritual desert-like barrenness of a life committed more to live sporting events, ongoing TV series, and social pursuits than the wholehearted pursuit of God. Churches that have not adapted but continued to do what they’ve always done in the same way are hurting. They’re not just getting what they’ve always gotten—they are languishing on the edge of extinction.
Nevertheless, God is doing something new! It’s time to play our part in this “something new” and rejoice in the abundance of his “rivers in the desert.” After all, when it comes to evangelism, we are privileged to be living in a spiritual monsoon season. We live in an extraordinary time of spiritual transformation and new life. For churches that have been sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and have adapted to the new normal of both in-person and online services as well as a hybrid model of both in-person and online discipleship and evangelism, it is a time of vibrant renewal. Many churches report 3-5 times the amount of online attendees as they usually have in Sunday morning attendance. Not only that, but they are also reaching everyone from atheists to Zoroastrians with the gospel both around the corner and around the world.
In a time in which people have rightly recognized their new heroes to be medical professionals, teachers, and ministers instead of movie stars, social influencers, and professional athletes, fruitfulness in evangelism will require an authentic transparency on behalf of the evangelizer. Genuine seekers of God are not only seeking reliable answers to their heartfelt questions, they are also looking for trustworthy people whose lives reflect the transformational dynamic and social engagement through communities of grace that their gospel references.
Now is not the time to pine for “the good old days” when we used to do ministry by “fill-in-the-blank.” It is not the time to dwell on “things of old.” Rather, it is a time to question how fruitfully we are living out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. It is a time to ask God to give us ears to hear what the Spirit of God is saying, and eyes to see what the Spirit of God is doing. It is a time to play our part in the “something new” that God is doing and rejoice in the abundance of his “rivers in the desert.”
Asking and answering the following questions will help you to understand where you are in your walk with God and what you need to do to honor God going forward.
- What have I learned about my priorities during this pandemic?
- Do my priorities reflect a right relationship with God?
- How should I be praying differently going forward?
- What aspects of my character is God showing me must change in order for me to pursue him wholeheartedly and honor him as he deserves?
- Which strategies and/or methods of my ministry is God showing me I need to change in order to be more fruitful?
- How can I best utilize my strengths, abilities and money to meet the ministry needs of those around me going forward?
The fact of the matter is that God is doing “something new” as he continues to build his church and prepare his Bride for the marriage feast of the Lamb. I pray that when the day of that feast arrives, we’ll all be able to look back and rejoice that we trusted God to be used for his glory and had the privilege to live in such a time as this!