Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19
The Latin term “tabula rasa” (lit. blank slate) is often used to refer to the need to start afresh from time to time. Undoubtedly, this Covid19 may well have changed the way we do church. Perhaps some of these changes were already happening, albeit gradually and tentatively. Understandably, in a congregation with a wide demographic, it has not been easy to change our habits. Consider some of these concerns and opportunities which have been knocking on our doors.
Is there a “greener” way to do things? We waste a lot of paper every week: weekend bulletins, class teaching notes, minutes etc. In this day and age, I think (and you will agree), this call to change in this area has been a long time coming. And they do come with added advantages. Think of an e-bulletin with colour and links.
How about a better use of videos? Is there a better way to multiply our teachings, messages and sermons? Through the years in SAC, I have heard some amazing sermons, lectures and talks. However and rather needlessly, they are only heard by a few who were fortunate to be at the right place at the right time. While we need audios and podcasts (longer shelf life), some are better channelled through videos.
Text messaging has been with us for a long while via SMS and in these last few years, this has been replaced by WhatsApp. Messaging is now free and immediate. Links can be easily inserted, allowing you to probe further if you are interested in an event or talk. Why can’t we all rely on this channel for bits of info that are current?
Online Giving. We all know that since last year, the government has started on a nation-wide push to encourage online payment. Imagine if all of us can be comfortable with giving our tithes and offerings online. There is the occasional huge sum which some may be more comfortable with using cheques. Understandable. However, on most other occasions, direct online payments are efficient and safe. And it will also reduce the administrative workload for our Finance Dept.
What about a better use of our smartphone apps? Apps are popular because they make navigation very user-friendly. After all, all you need to do is “click”. That needs a soft jab of the finger. I have heard from many seniors that they find apps easy to use. You don’t need to squint your eyes to read Web text or figure out what urls to type. SAC’s website is useful, unavoidably needing many layers as access to information is important. People come into the web to search for all kinds of info: service timings, tours, weddings, courses, membership etc. But if all you want to do is to check on last Sunday’s sermon, the app is where you will go, especially if you are already a member.
With Covid19’s safe distancing and new hygiene standards, going online simply makes sense. Lest we think that this is cool and novel, no-touch and distant communication has been with us for centuries. Runners used to carry news from afar, with scrolled edicts in hand. Millions of letters have been carefully written for distant communication. Some have had far-reaching impact on human society. Think of the letters of St Paul. Every generation has their tools. It is up to us whether we care enough to communicate and use them. And by the way, thank you for reading this. You have inspired me to write weekly.
It is about time (and I think I heard a chorus of amens).
Have a Blessed Easter!