We’re rapidly approaching a new stage in the COVID-19 pandemic that we might call the mid-term. Roughly defined, this is the span of time between this fall and early 2021. There are a couple of principles that I think are critical for you if you are going to develop leaders who are equipped to navigate the challenges of church planting coming our way this fall.

First, we must raise up Advocate Leaders.

 Paul writes that God has given us different types of leaders in order to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4:11-16). The word “equip” here is a word that means “to perfect” or “to adjust into place so that all the pieces work together”. It has the same root as the word used in Mark 1:19 when James and John were mending their fishing nets. To equip means to mend back together—to take the pieces that have torn apart and repair the damage.

To prepare for the mid-term you need to raise up advocate leaders who are equipped to engage divisive issues with a biblical and balanced perspective. If our churches are going to be unified, and if our churches are going to be able to offer reconciliation to our cities, then we must raise up Advocate Leaders who lead the way toward reconciliation. That means we must focus on equipping the saints now, on mending the saints together now, on cultivating unity now.

Because a unified church is the most effective missional church.

Second, we must raise up Missional Leaders.

When Jesus called his disciples he was very clear with them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt 4:19). From the very beginning, he told them what their mission would be and he never lost sight of that mission. From the initial call all the way to the Great Commission, the mission of Christ’s followers was the same.

For us today, I know it’s easy to lose sight of our mission. Between the implications of COVID-19 and the racial tensions in our nation, there are so many things we do not control. It can become very easy to feel helpless and to let go of our mission during this time. But we need to recognize that while we are powerless – we are not helpless. We are powerless to stop the virus. We are powerless to stop racism. We are powerless to change people’s hearts. And we need to grieve these things. But we need to remember that while we are powerless, we are not helpless and we are not hopeless. Our mission has not changed.

Finally, we must raise up Repentant Leaders. 

When Jesus was beginning his earthly ministry he began with a call. He said, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17).  I think this call to repentance is critical for us as leaders today. In a day and age where the latest hashtag can become our north star—we need to repent. In a time where the voices of comfort, passivity, change, convenience or revenge can be so enticing—we need to repent. We need to constantly re-align ourselves with who Christ is and who He says we are. We need to repent.

And so I want to encourage you to prepare. The coming midterm is going to bring us more divisions, more polarities, more distractions, and more struggles. And I don’t want them to catch you off guard. We want to be ready. We want our leaders to be ready. We want our churches to be ready and fully equipped to do the work of ministry. We can prepare and engage this work with confidence because we know that Christ is building his church and nothing—not a global pandemic, not systemic racism, not political injustice, not divisions, not even the gates of hell itself will overcome Christ’s church.

Watch this video as Dhati gives us more to think about in the mid-term.

Dhati Lewis
Author

Dhati Lewis is the Lead Pastor of Blueprint Church in Atlanta, Georgia and the Executive Director of Community Restoration with the North American Mission Board. He earned his Master of Arts in Cross-Cultural Ministry from Dallas Theological Seminary and most recently received his Doctorate of Ministry in Great Commission Mobilization from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is most passionate about making disciples, equipping urban leaders, and loving his family. On any given day you might find Dhati changing a plan, coaching his kids in basketball, or strategizing on a whiteboard. Dhati has seven beautiful children and is married to Angie, a discerning woman who empowers and encourages him to live fully out of his identity in Christ. He is the author of both the Bible Study and book, Among Wolves: Disciple Making in the City.

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