“Covid will give every church in America the opportunity to do ministry differently.”
Since March 2020 every single church leader I have spoken to has said something along these lines. There have been thousands of variations of that comment, and maybe you’ve heard a few yourself.
I had the privilege of walking several churches through the summer and fall of 2020 and helping guide their thinking and approach to ministry during the height of the pandemic. As we moved into late fall of 2020, we all began to look ahead and how their church might look different forever.
I asked church leader after church leader:
“Do you think the church will need to do ministry differently in a post Covid world?”
They all said, “Yes!”
I asked them then and I continue to ask others, “How will your church do ministry differently in a post Covid world?”
No one has really known how to respond.
I am not being critical here. It’s just that no one KNOWS how to do ministry differently than the way we have been doing it since World War II. Everyone has been trained to “do church” one way and one way only. Worship on Sunday. Sunday School/Small Groups/Discipleship. Children’s ministry. Youth ministry. A little bit of Missions. Evangelism? (Maybe?). Am I wrong here?
It’s the attractional model. Build it and they will come. Going to church on Sunday has been as American as baseball and apple pie. It’s just what you do. Right?
Whether you agree or disagree, Covid 19 has changed the church landscape forever and the attractional model of “doing church” is officially over. It was already severely limping along before Covid and now it is officially a closed chapter in American history and Christianity.
With all of that said, I absolutely believe the local church has been, still is and always will be the best way for people to come to know and experience the love of Jesus Christ. I believe that with all of my soul. I will spend the rest of my career working to help churches be relevant in their communities. Every local church should be known as the church who assists the people in their communities with real human needs and shows them the love and grace of Jesus.
Ok, so now what? Most church leaders do not know where to start. It seems overwhelming. Leaders are being asked to go down a path that has never been blazed before. If we are being honest it is a little scary.
Here are 5 questions I feel every church leader should be asking in staff meetings and church leadership meetings for the unforeseeable future:
What is our Vision Statement? Are we truly living up to it?
What is our Mission Statement? Are we truly executing it in a way that makes an impact on the people inside AND outside our walls?
What is the health of our church culture? Are all of our people pulling on the same rope in the same direction?
What do we want to be known for in a Post Covid world?
Would (insert name of your town/city) miss us if we closed our doors?
The conversation has to start somewhere if the local church is to be relevant again in American culture.
After Thanksgiving churches quickly shift to Advent and the end of the year. Most church leadership teams will have a December meeting. Will you set aside 30 minutes in that meeting to ask your leadership team these 5 questions?
Maybe send the questions out in advance of the meeting, ask for their responses and then have discussion during the meeting?
This will begin to answer the question “How will our church do ministry differently in a post Covid world?”