Where do we go from here?

By: Lt. Colonel Dean Hinson

Soldiers on the march often ask, “Where are we heading next?” As the guidelines and restrictions brought on by COVID-19 change, many are asking, “Where do we go from here?”

When the Israelites were freed from Egyptian bondage, they followed Moses into the Sinai wilderness.  Many must have been wondering why they were heading southeast. The promised land of Canaan was northeast, and the usual route followed the Via Maris along the coast. God, through Moses, led them through the wilderness to Mount Sinai and in the process provided for their needs (water, manna, quail), protected them in battle (Midianites) and guided them with his presence (pillar of fire, cloud) – teaching them valuable lessons they would need in moving forward as God’s people.

Isaiah 55:8 says, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”  We need to make sure as we move forward that we are following God’s ways and not forging our own path.

I admit that the way forward is very uncertain – especially as government guidelines continue to change frequently. What I am certain of is that moving forward does not include “returning to normal,” especially as it relates to ministry. We are beginning the hard work of learning from these last few months and charting a course for tomorrow.

Please don’t hunker down in our buildings. We have learned that the “Church” is not an address but a body of believers living in communities. Our beautiful facilities should be training grounds preparing us to go into our neighborhoods and preach the good news of Jesus Christ. Please continue to explore new and inventive ways to minister to a lost and hurting world. I have seen many wonderful ways that corps and commands have adjusted to restrictions and still meet human need in Jesus’ name. We can’t continue to rely on the programs handed down from previous generations but must explore new ways to touch people’s lives with the love of God.

I believe that the lessons of “stay-at-home” and “social distancing” are that we must mobilize for mission. Jesus told his disciples just before His ascension, “Go and make disciples . . . and be sure of this:  I am with you always” (Matthew 28:19-20), even during a pandemic.

Where are you going from here?