New Normal Pastoring: 3 Truths from Isaiah 41

The “New Normal” season is a call for pastors to minister from a place of being crucified with Christ, says Rev Edmund Chan. It is a Kairos season for a harvest of souls that requires not only a shift towards digital capabilities, but the wholly surrendered life of a minister.

The onset of the Covid pandemic in the first half of 2020 ushered in the rise of the digital church. In a matter of weeks, churches in Singapore and across the world made the hurried transition from in-person to online-only services.

For Rev Edmund Chan, this state of affairs highlights an interesting reality: although the media of the Gospel message needs to be tweaked towards the digital dimension, the medium has never changed.

Media vs Medium

“We are God’s delivery system… Men and women of God are still His method for reaching people. That’s why I emphasise the cross, the altar, the minister of God because that’s how we pastor during this new normal – to be crucified with Christ,” he says.

This season, in particular, is a call for pastors to experience the newness of life and the fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon a sanctified, surrendered life.

Don’t drag the cross around

Rev Chan elaborates that pastors have not, in fact, neglected the cross. After all, which pastor would not make the cross central to church?

However, we have also stayed away from the call of Jesus to take up the cross. “We have instead dragged the cross around. It’s too painful and costs too much to take up our cross daily,” said Rev Chan.

But only through a crucified life will we be able to reach a God-appointed harvest and grow our churches healthily in a manner pleasing to the Lord.

The promise from Isaiah 41

Sharing from Isaiah 41:9-10 and applying the passage to leadership, Rev Chan laid out three things God has called pastors to anchor upon – I’ve chosen you, I am with you, I am your God.

He adds that “If your vision is from God, there are three things you will face.”

Firstly, the task is too big.

Secondly, the resources are too few.

Thirdly, the progress is too slow.

[The following section is an excerpt from Rev Edmund Chan’s sharing with APCCS pastors on 13 July 2020]

#1 When we say to God, God, the task is too big, God says, I’ve chosen you.

Remember that. When God gives you a holy vision upon your heart, a vision for the city, not just the local church that God has called you and I to, but a vision for the city, a vision for our world. Then when we say, “God, the task is too big, God says, I have chosen you.” Lay hold of that. We are chosen of God.

I did not become a pastor and then 25 years, a senior pastor, then give up and start this Global Alliance of Intentional Disciplemaking Churches because I wanted to do something big. No, it is simply because God has called. And if the going gets tough, I remember God has chosen.

#2 When we say, Oh Lord, the resources are too little, God says, I am with you.

It’s like feeding the 4000 or 5000 with only few loaves and a few fishes. The resources are too few. When we say, Oh Lord, the resources are too little, God says, I am with you. That’s enough.

#3 Lord, the progress is too slow, God says, I am your God.

Put me in the centre of your worship. Put me in the centre of your life. I will do what I’d called you to do.

That is why no man or no woman should have more influence or less influence than God intend for us. God has a specific assignment for specific individuals. God has His assignment for me. God has assignment for you.

We must be clear about assignment and answer with great faith and dependency upon God.

We don’t have to compare with others. We just have to come and say “God, You will help us. We would do what You call us to do.” Because You have chosen us. You are our God. You are with us. You will strengthen, You will help, You’ll uphold us with your righteousness.

At the end of the day, when we meet Jesus, He’s not going to ask how big our ministry is, what we have accomplished, what we have done.

He’s not going to be impressed by the superstructures of our life and ministry. He’s going to ask for the foundation. He’s going to ask for obedience. He’s going to ask for worship. He’s going to ask for holiness.

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