“As church leaders, this is our opportunity to cast a renewed vision;
to invite our people to take risks, to serve, and to give in new and uncomfortable ways.”
2020 has changed how we do church. Large auditoriums are empty and we are now streaming on YouTube. After nine months and counting, we are being forced to ask ourselves new difficult questions about what it means to be the Church. Who are we in this new world we are living in?
There are many different ways we could answer this question. However, with so much change, one thing has remained unchanging: The Church is God’s Plan A for rolling out hope and healing in our broken world. And we have plenty of brokenness and need right now.
Whether we are in El Salvador, Downtown Chicago or even sunny Southern California, our neighbors are confused and in need. The veil of self-sufficiency has been broken and people are being real about all of their complex problems.
Our world is aching for the Church to rise up.
People are feeling profoundly isolated and alone; they are sick and hungry; kids and parents are floundering with e-learning; the light at the end of the tunnel is very hard to see.
Kelly Zea and her community from Willow Community Church South Barrington (pictured above) created a little bit of light for a special family in their neighborhood. They partnered with ENLACE's Run for Central America group to raise money for one local Chicago family that had been hit extremely hard during the COVID season. Together they raised $400 during a Saturday morning 10K run at a local forest preserve.
But there is literally endless opportunity right now for church communities that are willing to listen, to sit with and serve people in need.
I know it doesn’t feel like it, but this truly is the Church’s finest hour. So much of what we do as churches is indefinitely cancelled, but the time is now for us to be generous with our lives and resources.
As church leaders, it is our opportunity to cast this vision and invite our people to take risks and serve and give in new and uncomfortable ways.
For so many of the people in our churches, this COVID season has just been one personal tragedy on top of another. Our opportunity is to invite our people to redeem this season of their lives and turn this storyline on its head.
We at ENLACE want to help you in any way we can. As you figure out what this season means for your church and community, please let us know what you need. And if you are feeling called to get your church more deeply involved in a global mission, we would also love to help you with that!
This is truly the Church’s finest hour- we’ve got this friends!
Marks Bio: Mark Haugen (pictured in the middle) serves as the Head of Development for ENLACE, a non-profit organization that equips local churches in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nepal to transform their poor communities. In his role with ENLACE, Mark serves as the team coordinator for the Run For Central America charity running team. Running and endurance sports have been an important part of Mark’s life since childhood, and he is thankful to have the opportunity to combine his passion for running with his love for Central America. Mark is also actively involved in managing and developing partnerships with U.S. churches that share ENLACE’s commitment to church-led asset based community transformation. Prior to working with ENLACE, Mark served as the Global Ministries Director at Willow Creek Community Church. This is where he began his career in global ministry and grew his vision and belief in the power of the local church to transform communities. Mark’s wife Stephanie serves as the Associate Pastor at the Willow Creek South Barrington campus, and together they have three children: Paul (12), Ellie (10) and Sam (6).