By Joel Comiskey, Living in Victory , Summer 2020
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In 2019, I was the conference speaker at one of the most prominent and exciting cell churches in Brazil called “Attitude Church,” located in Rio de Janeiro. This church has 14,000+ people in attendance and 1300 cells. This year, the 2020 leadership conference at Attitude Church is completely online. Their theme is New Beginnings. The theme of new beginnings caught my attention as the world slowly emerges from the Covid-19 crisis.
My own ministry of conferences has shriveled up because of Covid-19. The idea of new beginnings is on my heart a lot lately. I’m asking the question, “What are you doing, Lord?”
I remember listening to Mario Vega preach back in 2007. One phrase in that sermon caught my attention. Mario said, When you’re going through a trial, the question you should ask is not, “Why God?” but rather, “What’s next, God?” It’s so easy to doubt God in difficult times, when the future seems uncertain. But we serve a powerful, sovereign God who can make a difficult situation beautiful and give new beginnings in the midst of turmoil.
We’ve been talking for the last few months on JCG about the church in crisis and how to adapt and improve under Covid-19. Yet, many church members are wondering what’s next? Pastors, coaches, and cell leaders are dealing with members who have lost their jobs and are wondering what will happen in the future. I’ve talked with several pastors who describe their people as depressed and in need of pastoral counseling and coaching.
Thankfully, I’m hearing some good news during these difficult days. Families have had a chance to grow together and many are coming away stronger. Others have grown deeper in their marriages. Some are re-doubling their effort to school their children at home. Some are finding new jobs or ways to do their current jobs better. Yes, we live in difficult times, but God is working and providing new beginnings.
I live in Moreno Valley, California. One unique aspect of Moreno Valley is the many donkeys that wander around. These donkeys are protected by the city of Moreno Valley because they were here long before people settled this area. At first, it’s fun to see donkeys in your yard but soon they become a nuisance. For example, we had high hopes for the Hawaiian Plumeria plant in our front yard. We looked forward to seeing its beautiful flowers. But the donkeys discovered the plant before the flowers could bloom and our hopes were dashed. Then something beautiful happened. The Plumeria plant found a way to break through into new life. Today, the plant is blooming. New beginnings.