“We streamlined our communication process so that it became more consistent. We knew that we had to be abundantly clear about the hearer’s best next step.”
LESSONS FROM 2020
No one would argue with the assertion that this has been a year of unprecedented challenge for the church. Outreach magazine wanted to learn directly from leaders on the front lines about how their churches have been innovating, meeting people’s needs and serving as a force for healing.
Here, Dean Fulks, lead pastor of Lifepoint Church (Fastest-Growing 34, Largest 95) in Lewis Center, Ohio, relates his thoughts on the global pandemic, the recent and ongoing racial tensions and how leading the church is changing.
Emphasizing our Sunday services was a good connector in keeping discipleship moving forward during COVID-19. Putting children’s curriculum online for parents was helpful in our vision to partner with them to see their child’s faith grow.
One of our best long-term learnings from COVID-19 will be how to communicate better within our church. We streamlined our communication process so that it became more consistent. We knew that we had to be abundantly clear about the hearer’s best next step.
To address racial tensions, we tried to focus on how the gospel should affect our views of race. We reminded ourselves of where we are heading in that Revelation 5 moment of every ethnos gathered around God’s throne. Two pastors in our network, J.D. Greear and Dhati Lewis, created a curriculum called Undivided: Your Church and Racial Reconciliation (NAMB.net/Undivided). We made sure that each of our groups had access to that curriculum as well. Also, our network of churches hosted a multiracial gathering of pastors online for listening and learning. In our state, the Citizens for Community Values also hosted a multiethnic call for church leaders to come together.
I believe church planting will become more crucial than ever to the spiritual vitality of our cities. At any given time, we are working with 20 church plants in our city through the SEND Network.
We wrote a book called Your Next Thirty Days to help new people take faith steps. I received a letter from a man who was incarcerated saying that someone had given him a copy. He was passing it around to inmates to read, and it was helping change lives in their institution. They asked for us to send as many copies as possible.
To address our divided culture this election year, Begin with God’s sovereignty. He allows our leaders to be in positions of authority. Because of that, we can follow biblical mandates to pray for and honor them, even if we don’t always agree. I heard Tim Keller say once, “Relax in the sovereignty of God.” Secondly, exercise your right to vote. Your vote is your voice. Filter your vote through your biblical values. Be a reconciler, not a divider, because our primary citizenship is in heaven, not on earth.