Be the Church: Wherever, Whenever

posted on May 07


For too long, some church leaders have devised strategies to get guests to “come to church.” However, this pandemic is forcing many in the church to see that the church building, the 'brick and mortar' is only a gathering point and not the church. Right now, in this moment, church leaders have been given an opportunity to re-think and re-imagine how “to do” church, shed “the way it’s always been done,” and redefine church as “wherever and however” you reach and serve all the people in your community to “GO be the church.” Churches are coming back to their mission – Making Disciples for Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World – and being the church for the community
 
However, there are two types of church leaders right now.
 
One type of leader is waiting for things to get back to normal – hoping to go back to that which they are familiar and doing church in the way they have always done church (the ‘normal’ way - in the pews, in the church). They are asking when they’ll be able to reopen our churches. Unfortunately, there are some estimates that say we may not be going back to business as usual in our churches for quite some time. Many of us (especially vulnerable groups) may not be returning to large social gatherings, including church services, until widespread testing and vaccines are available.
 
The best estimate of epidemiologists is that some social distancing may need to persist into 2022 in the USA to keep the surge of people severely sickened by COVID-19 from overwhelming the health care system. – Journal of Science, April 14, 2020
 
The second type of leader realizes the old “normal” is not coming back. What we’ve experienced so far and what we will continue to experience for many months (and maybe years), is forcing the church to change. And these leaders are not waiting for the church doors to reopen – but looking for ways adapt and meet the needs of their communities right now.
 
How do we begin to adapt to this new normal? What innovations are needed now and in the future?
 
How will you enable the church to go to the community?
 
The Digital Church is here to stay and the internet will be a BIG OPEN front door. Even though many churches have resisted the push into the digital world, the coronavirus has been the tipping point, forcing many congregations into a quick immersion into online church — online worship, online giving, online small groups, online Bible Study, and more. Church communities that are providing online worship say their worship and group attendance are up – significantly. 
 
Church online will continue to grow as a first ‘safe’ step for the curious, the seekers, and the interested as well as a way for Christians who, when travel resumes, may not be comfortable (or able) to join an in-person gathering on a given Sunday. Online church will help them stay engaged because, by being online and having your message available 24/7, you’re equipping them every day, not just on Sundays.

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