What we do now will set trajectory for how our churches relate - and their strengths and challenges - well beyond this pandemic itself. The choices leaders make could determine the shape of church for generations.
We must find ways to value and foster love and communication amongst church members as part of these changes.
If all we focus on is ‘keeping the show on the road’ - figuring out how to livestream as normal a service as possible and help people watch, the danger is we are inadvertently communicating to members that they’re part of our church because they watch the livestream. When we ask “How do we keep church going?” What if what we're really saying is how do we keep running a service.
In this time, could it be that the Holy Spirit is moving us out of our man-made services and into His service - on our streets, in our homes, and amongst one another?
In a month’s time time there’ll be ten thousand new live stream churches available for people to watch at the same time as ours, and people will be used to watching from home as their way of doing church in their life.
Gatherings are good. Technology is useful. Combining the two creatively is helpful in this time. The opportunity we have is to consider our underlying assumptions about the greatest challenge we face in this moment: Do we use technology and gatherings to maintain the status quo, or to train our churches for the future?
What will be naturally weakened by societal forces will be locally-rooted presence and community amongst members. Are people members of a local church because they are loyal to a livestream, or because they belong to one another?
So some practical questions for leaders to consider:
1. How are we communicating what it means to be a church member? 2. What ways of valuing and fostering interaction between isolated households are we using?
Follow the Spirit, don’t be afraid.
Photo by Jonathan Bacon.