Church. Gather. Differently!                                                       

Phil Miglioratti • The ReimagineFORUM


As the nation begins to “reopen,” the right of churches to gather has become highly politicized. For some, the cry for reopening is an act of patriotism based on what they consider their constitutional right. Others claim the precious principle of freedom of religion while some protest in anger. Some congregations have defied the ban to meet together (some also ignoring social distancing) and a few have sued the government for a return to business as usual.


Regardless of your perspective, I ask you to look at the how the church is responding to the reopening issue from the viewpoint of those the Church exists to invite or influence. Whether a congregation gathers in blatant defiance or even quietly resumes their normal schedule, many observers have only reactive/negative images that will invariably lead them to reach wrong conclusions about the heat and soul of the Church.


As I ponder our situation, I find these questions bothersome:

  • Are Christians perceived as using freedom of religion as an expression of partisan politics?
  • When we disregard social distancing are we acting in courageous faith, or are we arrogantly testing the Lord our God (Matthew 4:7) by ignoring the God-created realities of chemistry and biology?
  • Will the unchurched see this episode as another indication of an attitude of entitlement? Arrogance? Ignorance?
  • What  is the “Gospel According to the Reopening Church” my neighbors see/hear?
  • During shelter-in-place, what has my congregation done to connect with neighbors? Serve unchurched people? Are we now known as generous? Uncommon? Kind? Different?


What would happen if, rather than clamoring for our rights, we broke out of our standard operating procedures and designed new ways of proclaiming God and blessing our communities?


What could God do through the Church if we began to view this virus-crisis as an opportunity to reshape cultural stereotypes (judgmental, irrelevant) as we demonstrate the heart of God (love, sacrifice, forgiveness; John 3:16-17)?


What if we express our right to gather in ways unexpected but appreciated, even welcomed.


What if we gathered; not defiantly but joyfully; not in our seats but out in the streets?


What if we promote a gathering to honor and bless and pray for First Responders?


Church, we are right now in a Kairos moment.

Reimagine Church in this unique moment in history to gather - -

in small groups (5-7) outside your building to praise (parade) and pray (circles)

Then, each family or small group walks/drives to a:

  • place of power (City Hall) to pray for our leaders
  • neighborhood hit hard by the pandemic, praying for people as we distribute food
  • business struggling economically to bless with a gift (sanitizer) or an act of service
  • school and other places of influence to pray for our culture
  • hospital, praying for healing and hope,; gifting food for medical staff and families
  • police or fire station to support First Responders (pizza party)
  • nursing home to bring songs and smiles to those confined to their surroundings



Church, you have the right to fight. Fight, differently. Use this unique opportunity to show and tell the Gospel with acts of kindness by serving others in an attitude of love. Reach. Then preach. And teach.



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  • Dissatisfied with Church

    “Why do you think so many people are dissatisfied with church today? Does it make you think that something must be wrong with the Church?

    “My plan is different for this generation. The instruments are now in place to evangelize the world as no other generation has had the opportunity. And the time is short. 

    “I’m showing My children that church cannot satisfy because they are the Church. They are restless and discontent because I have made them to be fulfilled only when taking Jesus to lost people, not by celebrating their faith with other sheep.

    “I didn’t say to spend your time in church, I said not to forsake coming together. I want you to do the things I did and greater. When did I ever encourage My disciples to bring people into the synagogue? What I did was send them out to teach unbelievers.

    “I’m not saying to stop coming to church, but not to stop with church. Don’t keep investing yourself in the place with fewer needs when the world around you has such great need. Take your joy, hope, peace and love to those who have none.”
    If you would like to have these messages in one place for easy reference, you may request this book and I’ll be happy to mail a copy as this ministry’s gift to you. For a listing of all Shiloh books, email me at
    Blessings of love, peace and joy,
    Randy Walter
    Shiloh Ministries

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