No Playbook

by Mikel Berger

I get a lot of emails lately that reference a playbook. Eight weeks ago people said there is “no playbook” for dealing with a global pandemic like COVID-19. In the last two weeks people are saying, “here’s your playbook for your COVID recovery.”

Apparently people that write copy for emails all have the same marketing playbook that tells them to write about playbooks. ;)

Side note: I recognize the irony that most of you are reading this because you got a “no playbook” e-mail from the church that sent you here to read this blog post. I’m part of the problem!

Side-side note: If you don’t already get Kossuth’s Weekly Web Update emails on Friday mornings and are part of our church family, be sure to contact the church office and we’ll add you. There’s often really important info in there, not just whiny blog posts from one of the elders about e-mails referencing playbooks.

There might not be a playbook for handling COVID-19. I also don't know who has the right playbook for life post-COVID. 

What I really want to ask the people sending me e-mails is, “Where did you all get playbooks for life before COVID? Have you been holding out on me?” It seems like I’ve been making things up as I go along ever since I moved out of my mom and dad’s house. 

I actually don’t think God intends for us to have a playbook. Maybe we should stop looking for one. We are going to have to figure out the steps we take to navigate life just as we did before COVID. We look in the Scriptures. We pray to God. And He answers! We ask those brothers and sisters wiser and more experienced than we are for advice. I’ll admit not having a playbook can sometimes be scary. But it’s also exciting. We get to figure this out. We get to do it together. Will it be hard? Sure. Will we mess it up sometimes? Definitely. Is God going to grow us through it? Guaranteed.

So, what should we be figuring out? 

I’m very happy with the plan we have as a church to start holding worship gatherings in our building again. Is it perfect? Nope. I’m sure we’ll look back and wish we had done a few things differently. But I think it represents an excellent way to come together as a church body, to care for the most vulnerable around us, to love our city, to respect civil authorities, and to do all of those things in a way that gives all honor to God.

But that whole plan could change. 

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. (Prov 16:9 ESV)

It will be great to be back together. I got to help a little with the livestream from the church on Sunday. It was a joy to hear, in-person, Leslie using her gift of playing music to the Lord.

But as essential as that plan is to our church body, it isn’t the totality of what God has given us to do. God isn’t worried about when our building will have more than 100 people in it again. Here’s God’s priority:

And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:18–20 ESV)

We live in a very unique time. I don’t know what will be in my great-great-great-grandchildren’s history lessons about 2020, but I know 2020 will get a mention. God has allowed us to live in this time for a reason. We don’t know the plays but we know the outcome of the game. Let’s get excited for the opportunities that lie ahead. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to let this unique time slip away by hoping things could go back to normal. Or trying to figure out what a “new normal” looks like. Normal isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Going forward might look weird. But so what? We’ve been doing a lot of weird things lately. Me wearing a tie on a Zoom call on Sunday mornings is the least of the weird things that might happen. I don’t care if Kossuth looks weird. I want Kossuth to make disciples in whatever ways we can in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.

If COVID made you question your job, your relationship or lack of relationship with family and friends, what city you live in, or any number of other things, I think that’s great. If you hit a bit of a reset button the last eight weeks, good! You’re not alone. But we all have a unique (i.e. weird) role to play in the body of Christ. My current role is laid out here:

And he gave the... shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. (Eph 4:11–12 ESV)

How can I and the other elders equip you, the saints, for the work of the ministry? I’m open to any and all crazy ideas. I’ve got a few myself but you probably have crazier ones. I’d love to hear them. I’m going to have a ton of fun seeing what God does here in the months and years to come.