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The last few years have been tough on a global level. As we enter another school year, I’m [Charlie] reminded of how last fall started to feel normal again. This year feels like another step in that direction, with a few exceptions. It might be more accurate to say that I’m adapted to the new normal than to say that things have returned back to normal.

We recently had friends affected by COVID-19, and our response was vastly different than it would have been in spring 2020. On the work front, I scheduled a meeting and joined a learning cohort entirely through Zoom without thinking twice. We’ve been shaped into new modes operating, and the world we experience is very different from that of 2019.

The pandemic created new norms. People have said it amplified issues within our world and accelerated changes that were inevitable. That makes sense when I think about the technologies, politics, economics and spirituality of the last three years. We’re used to experiencing change over time, but the rapid rate of change since 2020 is disorienting…and, for many, alarming.

Paul encouraged the church in Rome not to be conformed to the patterns of the world, but to be transformed by the renewal of their minds (Romans 12.2). In doing so, they would be able to discern what God was up to in the world.

We need a renewal of our minds to transform the way we live.

The world we knew is gone, and a new world is emerging.

Most of the things we’ve counted on to anchor our souls have shifted. All the elements of society – government, economics, and even church –  are undergoing reconstructions.

The church has always had a prophetic voice. The Spirit continues summoning us deeper into the presence of God. Warning that our collusions with the world will cost us. If we become too embedded in certain politics, we will suffer. If we become too comfortable with certain economics, we will suffer. If we become too used to doing church a certain way, we will suffer.

The pandemic amplified and accelerated the growth process. Everyone suffered, and everyone is looking for renewal.

Paul’s invitation to transformation and unconformity is at the heart of City Coast this fall. Since the world’s patterns have all been disrupted, we see an opportunity to renew our minds. We’re going deeper into the heart of God to learn what He says is good, acceptable and perfect. We’re not waiting for the world’s new patterns to mold and control us.

There is a path that leads to peace. It’s gate is narrow, but those who find it and endure experience the fullness of life. If we get the center right, the circumference will take care of itself. The way of Jesus is the way onward and upward.


Sara Quiceno-Sandoval is joining our City Coast Team this month!


God, renew our minds in such a way that our lives are changed.


Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12.2, ESV).