Undo, Redo, or Reset?
By Anne Bosarge, Director of Leadership Strategies and Local Church Resources
I love icebreaker questions. They are such a great way to begin to get to know people you’ve never met or to get a feel for where people are when you’re leading a group. One of my favorite icebreakers is this simple question, “Would you like to undo, redo, or reset something in your life right now?” Here’s how I define those terms:
- Undo: One thing you would like to completely erase
- Redo: One thing you wish you could do again and change
- Reset: An area where you want a complete restart or reboot of the whole thing
Let’s break the ice. Would you like to undo, redo, or reset something in your church right now? Maybe you’d like to undo something – the decision to add another service, do away with an ineffective program, or even a staff hire that has never quite worked. Maybe you’d like to redo something – go back to your Easter service and be more intentional about capturing your guests’ contact information, spend more time preparing for your last sermon, or respond differently to that last unsolicited critique. We can all probably think of Undos and Redos, but I bet there are quite a few of us who would just like a complete Reset.
In this “almost post-covid” era, many of us are realizing the churches we have been leading aren’t as strong as we may have hoped. We’ve seen people we thought were committed drop out completely and we’ve watched as engagement in our programs and ministries decreased as well. Some of us are realizing the discipleship model we were using has become ineffective at making disciples for the transformation of the world. Covid exposed the shallowness of our strategies as some put their faith on a shelf in the face of a global crisis. Even if we could “undo” the pandemic, our problem wouldn’t be solved – the pandemic just revealed what was already under the surface. What we need is a reset – a total restart of what discipleship was meant to be in the church.
Let’s reset at the beginning – the very beginning of what discipleship was with Jesus! Back in Jesus’ day, He chose 12 men to be His first disciples. These men left everything behind and followed Him, not metaphorically or figuratively, but physically! Their goal was literally to become like Jesus, not just in what Jesus knew, but in how He thought, taught, made decisions, and lived. They wanted to imitate Him in the practical details of their lives and let His teaching live in them. This didn’t happen in structured classes or programs, but on the roadside and at the dinner table when they were with loved ones. Discipleship was meant to be a life-on-life relationship between the disciple and the master, not just a regularly scheduled impartation of knowledge.
At the end of His time on earth, Jesus called the disciples together and gave them this commissioning, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18b-20). Jesus basically said, “Go and do for others what I have done for you.”
What would it look like if we reset our mindset around discipleship and it became more personal and less institutional? What would it look like if every individual in your church was personally discipling someone else and engaging in faith-filled conversations outside of the walls of the church? What if the people in your church passionately pursued becoming more like Jesus in their lives so they could help others become more like Jesus in return? I think that’s a church I would want to be a part of! I think that is a church that would impact the community and leave a lasting legacy.
This fall I’m gathering a group of pastors and laity who are ready to explore what it looks like to do a missional reset. We’re not going to ask for an “undo” of the pandemic so we can return to what was, we’ll be talking about what it looks like to be disciples who make disciples. Will you join me as we remember what it means to “make disciples for the transformation of the world?”
To find out more and register, visit www.sgaumc.org/reset
Anne Bosarge serves as the Conference’s Director of Leadership Strategies and Local Church Resources. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.