As we consider the theme and work of renewal, rally, and rebuilding, it is important to consider the issues and trends that were already challenging us before the pandemic, were further exposed by the pandemic, and will be with us for years to come.
To put it bluntly, we don't want to renew bad habits, poor programs, and declining attendance.
During the pandemic here at Rotation.org, I started posting links, quotes, and opinions from a wide variety of church futurists, research groups (like Barna), consultants, and pastors whose opinions resonated with me. In many cases, I would post excerpts and then interpret their thoughts and stats as they might be applied to Sunday School. Below I've selected my favorites from that topic and edited them.
You're going to read a lot of "don't renew this!" and "let's renew our commitment to that." But before we get any further, let’s remember that it is WE who need to be renewed first: our faith, our endurance, our openness to going where the Spirit leads.
In his excellent 2021 video, Presbyterian pastor Brian Wallace outlined the challenges that face children and youth ministry coming out of the pandemic. He counseled both patience (time) and flexibility (including innovation) as we renew our ministries and commitments. Though spoken during the pandemic, his words speak to the ministry of renewal that's always in front of us. Especially these days, to be a godly leader, we need, as Brian says, to renew of our patience and flexibility, to which the scripture adds: renew ourstrength and mind as well.
From personal experience, I know that the work of renewing my patience, flexibility, strength, and mind begins with rest and prayer, scripture and study.
Then it includes listening and exploring new ideas --even the ones outside my comfort and skill zones.
It includes a willingness to put aside notions about the "right" way to do things, and a willingness to let go of my sacred cows.
And it includes not judging people about the choices they have made about Sunday morning.
I hope you enjoy the following insights from others and my comments about them. Your thoughts and links are welcome.