The Coming “New Norm”

The Manna Team has gone to great lengths over the past several months to research trends, changes and Biblical equivalents to this era of Covid-19 and the coming “New Norm”. There is no doubt things will be different for the church as we look ahead. Based on the gospel, history and cultural trends, we have provided data, ideas, and opportunities for the church to be discussing and praying through as we discern where things may be headed.

The current events of our day are beyond once in a lifetime, and even more incredibly are happening so rapidly that it is only natural to feel like your head is spinning and that you aren’t quite sure if you are awake or dreaming. When Covid-19 came on the world scene, there was much confusion both inside and outside the church.  It created a perplexing matter of rights, true reality, politics, life and death, “the new norm”, distant interaction and the list goes on.  It came about so rapidly that it felt like a swift punch in the mouth that seemed to discombobulate the church at first, along with everyone else.  

It’s no surprise that the church stumbled a bit as it tried to come to its senses.  The spring of 2020 was such a perplexing time as many tried to wrap their minds and hearts around what the world had become and how the church could and should respond.

In the past, these transitionary eras typically lasted years if not decades allowing an adjustment process.  Not so in the era of Covid-19.  In the course of just three months we saw the equivalent of roughly 3-5 years advancement in technology, health, delivery services and commerce services.  Other industries had been set back years if not made extinct just in three months!  We have seen global geopolitics evolve dramatically, resulting in a splintering of the world order.  The globalization and united world that leaders had touted post 9/11 is gone for now.  The rushed policies of governments in response to Covid-19, with little forethought, has also given rise to a socially distanced, fearful, distrustful society, splintered in so many ways, to generations that will forever be shaped and definitively scarred by these current events.  As the church, we have been scattered, our buildings abandoned for a time, familiar faces on a screen that we long to embrace, fathers and mothers thrust into the role of pastor and teacher within their homes.

In times like these we can get lost in the chaos and opinions if we don’t give ourselves to prayer and remain grounded in the Word.  Let us be reminded of the following:


“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.  Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new’?  It has been already in the ages before us.  There is no remembrance of the former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.” Ecclesiastes 1:9-11

Solomon, in his wisdom, realized that the interaction of man’s toil and how the world turned was repetitious.  We can look at the Bible, see instances of our past and learn from God’s eternal wisdom.  We can look at our history books and see patterns and trends that repeat themselves again today.  We can look at the historical church and see its collective response at times like these and learn from them.

“The new norm” as we have experienced for the past several months won’t last much longer, whether it expires this year or the next.  It is vital we don’t get distracted by the mis-direction of the world and incessant chatter of our day, and there is much!  We need to understand that this transitionary phase is bringing us from one era to another, and it is doing so at a swift pace.  Let us instead put to use the wisdom of scripture, the repetitive nature of history, the accelerated nature of current trends and the guiding of the Holy Spirit to show us things we need to pray through, discuss and discern so that God will direct us collaboratively as His church into what missional opportunities, and there are many, lie before us in this new, coming era.

Let us turn our attention to the following eight explorations in the coming eight weeks:


1.     Current trends

2.     Historical trends through pandemics and beyond

3.     How the church is currently responding

4.     How the church has historically responded in pandemics

5.     How pastors are currently responding

6.     How pastors have historically responded in pandemics

7.     Biblical equivalents to our day – Tower of Babel / Abraham’s seed

8.     Biblical equivalents to our day – The Scattered Church