Together we are sojourning through a “land between.” It’s a land between pre- and post-COVID 19. The sojourn will, likely, last another 6-12 months. An interesting dynamic of journeying through this land between is that church culture has morphed into a relatively liquid state. The pre-pandemic mantra for most churches was “this is the way we’ve always done it.” In the land between the mantra is, “we’re trying to figure it out a day at a time.” This time of fluidity provides renewal leaders an opportunity to reshape ministry in preparation for a post-COVID world when church culture will reacclimate around new ways of being. Church as we knew it may never return. Renewal leaders would do well to ask several ministry shaping questions in preparation for entering a post pandemic land.
Here are 7 important questions to ask while living in the land between:
Question 1: In a post pandemic world, what should church membership look like?
In the land between, new on-line relationships are being formed while some existing members are disconnecting from congregational life. How will this fluidity be captured in the concept of membership? Should membership be connected to a pledge? Can persons living out-of-the area be members?
Question 2: In a post pandemic world, how should technology be used for mission and ministry?
In the land between, technology has been essential for mission and ministry. The use of technology includes on-line worship services, Zoom small group gatherings and pastoral care via FaceTime (just to name a few). How will technology remain an essential tool in our mission and ministry toolbox?
Question 3: In a post pandemic world, how should worship be structured?
In the land between, the style of worship has been re-imagined. On line worship is shorter, crisper, better imagined, more disciplined, more Gospel-centric, more appealing to a broader audience and more invitational. How will these practices find their way into worship in a post-COVID world?
Question 4: In a post pandemic world, how should neighboring be improved?
The land between has improved neighboring. Jesus followers everywhere are checking in with those living around them. And churches are finding fresh ways to address the needs of their near-neighbors. Churches have also gained a voice for justice. How will good neighboring continue into a new land?
Question 5: In a post pandemic world, how should discipleship be reimagined?
In a pre-COVID world, discipleship happened almost accidentally. People gathered in worship, small groups and educational settings where discipleship was expected to naturally occur. In a post-COVID world discipleship must be intentional and utilize tools previously unavailable. How will this look?
Question 6: In a post pandemic world, how should the idea of staff and facilities change?
In the land between, churches have experienced new ideas related to staff & facilities. Staff work off-site and congregations meet without walls. What needs to change in the competencies, style and size of staff (including bi-vocational work)? How will buildings serve ministry rather than ministry serve buildings?
Question 7: In a post pandemic world, how will congregation remain connected?
In a pre-COVID world, connection happened through in-person participation. Will this still be true? Early indications suggest in-person participation may not return to previous levels. What other options are available? What are the connection practices from the land between that we can carry into the future?
The Center for Church Renewal is committed to assisting church leaders as they help congregations navigate new ministry realities in a rapidly changing world.