How this crisis can make churches stronger
I’ve been talking with several friends about how the coronavirus will negatively impact both churches and businesses in the coming weeks and months.
Surely, churches having to suspend in-person gatherings for any extended period of time will result in a decrease in giving and a negative impact on future ministry. Honestly, it might force some churches already in financial trouble to close their doors for good.
Unfortunately, at this point, it might be unavoidable. It’s important our churches forego in-person gatherings right now and do the right thing for the safety of their members and neighbors.
However, It doesn’t mean that this time is wasted. When, as churches, do we ever have a time where ministry and meetings slow down enough to allow us to dream and strategize?
Basically, never. Right?
What if we take the coming days and weeks and spend time discerning what needs and desires people will have on the other end of this pandemic and begin creating ministries that fulfill them?
Here are a couple of ways I think this coronavirus pandemic can make us stronger as churches.
It Gives us Time to Anticipate Our Community’s Needs
I believe the churches that take the time to listen to their communities and attempt to predict the coming needs and wants of people will be incredibly successful coming out of this difficult time.
Think about it. After days, weeks, months (I hope not) of isolation, people are going to be starving for personal connection. Your neighbors will be ready to do anything to connect with people in the community.
What ministries or events can your church launch as soon as the fog lifts to feed that craving and show your neighbors you hear them and you care?
In addition, the financial pressure this could put on our communities is something we need to work to address. There will be needs present throughout the pandemic and limited ways we can fill those needs with limits to how we might interact.
When this passes and we can begin gathering again, there will be a lot of needs in our community. Pay attention and listen. Anticipate those needs and start developing creative ways to fulfill them knowing your own financial foundation might be compromised as well. Just because the money isn’t there doesn’t mean there aren’t ways you can help.
It is Forcing Us to Learn New Skills
Over the course of the coming weeks, churches who have wholly ignored online ministry will be forced to figure it out. Pastors that rarely appear on their church’s Facebook page will be going live and responding in the comments to members and neighbors regularly.
Let this be the new normal for your church. As church communicators the world around have been screaming from the mountaintops for years: your church gets roughly 1 hour every few weeks with the average attendee. The average person spends HOURS every day on social media.
Use this time to meet people where they are the most and develop relationships and ministry that will transform lives in new ways.
Already, on Sunday number 1, I’ve seen pastors flood social media with amazing ministry. Some, simply by saying “what can I pray for?” and then responding to every comment that comes in.
I love it.
Again, in the coming weeks, people will be starved for human interaction. Give it to them using social media and other tools.
Nothing can really make this time better…
…but this time can make our churches better for years to come. However, it will only make us better if we approach it with the right mindset and attitude.
How will you utilize these uncertain times to make yourself and your ministry stronger on the other side of a global pandemic?
Note: Many of your churches will determine that now is a time for action because there are vulnerable people in your community. That absolutely comes first.
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Will your church go back to “normal” after COVID, or will you pave a new path to new growth and impact in your community?