We are Beginning to Realize What is Really Important, and What is Not: Benny Ho
Crisis creates clarity
Benny Ho is the Senior Pastor of Faith Community Church in Perth, Australia. His twin passions in ministry are expository preaching and mentoring.
2020 was an unprecedented year for the world, particularly the devastation the COVID-19 crisis brought on so many levels. What opportunities does crisis create in our lives, and especially in the Church?
The first thing is this – crisis creates clarity. Through COVID-19, we were able to discover what is really important, and what is not so important.
From a church perspective, we were supposed to have a major conference last year in Perth, where we had a well-known international speaker who was going to come and speak. We had been looking forward to this conference for years – we had invited the speaker and he was finally going to come.
But then COVID happened. We were not able to have this great conference. But we discovered that canceling a conference like this did not really sink the ship, so to speak. Yes, it would have been great to have, but it’s not really that important when it comes to the life of the church.
But now let’s say that we do not have connect groups or cell groups. I think it would hurt the church in a time of crisis like this. Without the small group, we will never be able to continue to minister to our people during a lockdown situation.
So in the midst of the unexpected crisis, we discovered that those things that we always consider to be so important, like conferences and events, are not really that important in the bigger scheme of things. Yet without our relationships, our connect and cell groups, we’ll be in trouble.
“Without travel, we have lost the reason for not having enough time at home.”
This crisis helps us to be clear about what’s important and what is not. That’s true not just in church, but also at home, in our workplaces, in our family life, and in our personal life. We are beginning to realize what things are truly important.
What are some of the practical ways we can discover this clarity during the crisis? If someone told you that they don’t feel they are learning any lessons, just due to the pressure of this season, what would you advise them to do?
One of the exercises I got my church members to do was draw a chart. I had them write these three questions down on one side of the chart:
1) What are some things that I am doing but would like to stop?
2) What are some things I am not doing but would want to start?
3) What are some things I am doing and want to continue?
I then had them put their answers under three categories: their personal walk with God, their family life, and their church ministry.
So ask yourself these questions: What are some things you want to stop doing in your personal life? What are some things you want to start doing now? And what are some things you want to sustain?
Times of difficulty are a good time to re-examine our own life and find clarity about what is important and what is not so important.
This is what I’m talking about when I say crisis creates clarity
Did any of the answers your church members listed surprise you?
Some of them included things like “I won’t eat out so much,” or “We will spend more time eating and cooking together.” This was one of those things that I didn’t expect.
Other people began to realize that they didn’t have to travel so far for holiday, and that there are actually a lot of beautiful places in our own backyard, within our own city, that we’ve never visited before. People actually fly in from overseas to visit these places, while we live here and haven’t even been there. Now that we can’t fly elsewhere, we are beginning to explore our own backyard and discover little treasures that can be quite interesting.
If crisis brings clarity, how does that affect our priorities?
Crisis definitely brings a reordering of priorities in our lives.
For example, before the crisis started, I used to travel a lot. But now that I’m staying home a lot more, it gives me a lot more personal time. This is something that everybody needs to prioritize, as is more focused time with family. Without travel, we have lost the reason for not having enough time at home.
We also have a lot more time to think and reflect. These reflections come out of these forced times.
Of course, some value-add time for others is also a good use of this season. I was able to get on track with my mentoring of pastors and other people.
Conversely, I was also able to get in touch with my mentors. In the past it was so hard to get time with each other because of travel. But now that we are on Zoom, we become a lot more consistent in our relationships.
I find this very, very helpful, and believe we can keep these priorities when we come out of this season.
Come back next week for part 2 of our interview with Benny Ho where he discusses the weaknesses this crisis has exposed in our lives, relationships, and the church. He shares practical changes his church has adopted in response to the revelations.
Discover more of Benny Ho’s thoughts in our ChurchNext series, where we discuss how the events of 2020 have impacted the state of the church today.