Like most of us these days, I’ve had plenty of time to ponder things. Lately I’ve been wondering, “How might the post-Covid-19 church be different from the pre-Covid-19 church?” I predict some congregations will:
Replace live-streaming with a recorded and strategically-produced weekly service. Those who have done so during this time have been receiving positive feedback from their constituents. They have also increased their influence with pastors reporting a surprising number of “views” and “followers.” These developments have already prompted some leaders to develop and implement ministries specifically for those who join them online.
Recognize small groups as the glue that holds their people together in times of crisis—and respond accordingly. Before the pandemic, First Church had over 75% of its congregation enrolled in weekly life groups. Those groups, coupled with a weekly, recorded sermon, have proved invaluable during the pandemic to the spiritual life of the congregation. Congregational leaders are now asking, “What is the glue that holds our congregation together,” and, in response, develop their small group ministries.
Improve their social media presence and certainly include an on-line giving feature on their websites. One congregation, who embraced online giving years ago, reported that contributions to their ministry have actually increased over giving a year ago. In contrast, those congregations without this feature are reporting declining income.
Update their database so as to have email addresses, phone numbers, and postal addresses for each person. For some time now, we have viewed postal addresses as unimportant. But, without postal addresses, churches have found it difficult to drop off food and supplies to their most vulnerable populations.
Prepare congregants for life without the weekly gathering by teaching and encouraging individuals to embrace the historic spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, meditation, solitude, and fasting. Let’s admit it. We haven’t done a good job preparing people to thrive spiritually without the corporate spiritual discipline of weekly worship. We might take a lesson from the armed forces who train their soldiers for worst case scenarios.
Recognize that officing on site is not that important. Pastors are reporting better and more frequent meetings with staff, congregational leaders, and other congregants by way of phone, email and video conferencing. They are also discovering software applications to track, manage and connect projects for team members. Add to that the ease by which congregants may reach out to pastors by way of phone, email, and texting. These developments are prompting questions like, “Why did we spend so much money on office space?” The answers to that question will surely impact the future construction of church facilities.
Dedicate more time and energy encouraging and equipping parents to train their children in the way of the Lord. This initiative will be warmly received by parents who, while sheltering at home, discovered they didn’t have enough resources in their tool kit to serve as First Responders to the spiritual needs of their children.
Those are my thoughts. What about yours? How will your post-Covid-19 congregational life differ from its predecessor?