Easter has come. He is Risen. He is Risen indeed!
You made it.
The future looks bright! It’s just more difficult getting there than most of us thought!
There are whispers that the U.S. might start to reopen in the next few weeks.
So, what does this mean?
According to Barna/Gloo:
- Two-thirds of churches report increased worship “attendance” the last few weeks as online worship becomes more accessible or “church hopping” becomes more common.
- Giving is down 50% in churches.
- Unemployment is significant.
- 19% of pastors report they are in excellent mental and emotional health (compared to 39% three years ago).
- And, pastors report that congregants’ biggest needs are emotional and relational wellness.
So, let’s look at some facts….
- Virtually every congregation made the jump to virtual/online worship… in 30 days! It’s a technical change. Not an adaptive change. But, well done.
- Most leaders have faced criticism inside or even outside the congregation for what they did/didn’t do/should have done/needed to do sooner/needed to do later. Let’s be honest. That stings! It makes you reluctant to experiment more, given all that you’re facing.
- Somebody needs to pay attention to the finances and take action. (Most church boards were already driven by financial problems and not vision for where God might be leading.)
- We have not grieved, for what’s been lost, for what we’re losing.
So, here are 4 Action steps:
Listen Step –
Surviving and Thriving Emotionally and Relationally with COVID-19. Join Rev. Dr. Justin Hanneman, and Gail Ficken on Thursday, April 23, 12:30 pm CDT as they discuss surviving and thriving emotionally and relationally in COVID-19. Please register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Area/Neighborhood Step –
There’s a reasonable possibility that when we start to phase back into public worship we won’t be able to gather in large groups. What if you built an “in-between” step and prepared for people gathering together in smaller bands in homes? You could live-stream worship into gathered communities in area homes.
Investment Step –
What if you invested in the people who would organize and host those neighborhood/area gatherings? And you leveraged the opportunity? We have so “professionalized” ministry roles that they’re not accessible to anyone else and so we create passive “sitters.”
It would be easy to transfer a few skills to them to support what the church could still deliver online, and invite them to host lunch.
It could foster an “adaptive change” that distributes the ministry outside the building and beyond the professionals. (There’s still whispers that Corona could recur in a few months and/or be around for a long time.)
It assumes that you have some depth of faith and character worth transferring to these neighborhood/area champions.
Necessary Endings Step –
Start thinking. Start talking with your leadership group. What needs to face a necessary ending? It wasn’t working before Corona. It wasn’t serving the mission of your congregation. It may have been consuming limited energy or resources. You’re reluctant to do it. Especially if you felt some sting of criticism the last few weeks. Commit yourself to a better “new normal.” You’re going to need more time/energy/resources for some of the new dreams you’ll be starting to think in the next few weeks.
And, if you’re not on the staff of your congregation? Now is a great time to be a champion and encourager for your pastor, spouse, key leaders. Encourage them with some of what’s stirring in your own heart right now!