Guest post by Rev. Scott Lees, Executive Pastor & Chief of Staff
As I write, my heart is heavy. This week world-renowned Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias passed away from a battle with sarcoma. Ravi had a personal impact on my life and ministry. When I was a senior at the University of Georgia, several of Ravi’s messages made lasting impressions.
One day I was driving around Athens listening to Ravi’s radio program when he started to talk about his experience with college students during the “Truth Forums” he would host on campuses. At the end of his presentations students were invited to ask questions. Needless to say, there would always be 2-3 students who would attempt to debate and ultimately shame Ravi publicly. What Ravi said next has been a cornerstone of my ministry as a pastor. Ravi said he had never heard a question he wasn’t prepared to answer. In fact, not only could he answer the students’ questions rationally and articulately, Ravi could actually do so in such a way that embarrassed each student. However, he chose not to do so. Ravi’s desire to represent Christ was more important than defending Christ at the cost of humiliating someone else in front of others. For Ravi, representing the character of Christ was more important than proving himself right.
As many churches discuss returning for on-site worship, there are diverse opinions on when and how to do so faithfully. Folks are passionate about their convictions. Some are more verbal about those opinions while others quietly share them with people they trust. As Christ Church prepares for what’s next, your lay and staff leadership are engaged in deep discernment and conversation. This week the Executive Committee met on Monday while on Tuesday members of that committee and the the Medical Advisory Team had a meeting. We are considering a return to worship date as well as important protocols once we do so. This group will meet again next Tuesday, and it’s our hope that we can communicate our plan. Please be in prayer for your leadership.
As we do wait for the day when we can return, how we represent the character of Christ to each other in this time of waiting is critically important. Like one of Ravi’s “Truth Forums” we could stage a debate and let everyone present their evidence and arguments. However, maybe the best thing we can do is pray for one another and our leaders. The way we represent Jesus to each other is so much more important than a date on the calendar. Worshiping together as a gathered church is important to all of us; everyone is eager to do so. However, representing the character of Christ to an unbelieving world is even more important.
If you have not heard Ravi teach, I encourage you to do so here. Also, please be in prayer for his family in the days and weeks ahead.