Since COVID-19 hit and churches were forced to leave their buildings, Aspen Group has been working to help churches prepare to relaunch. "Some of the key church spaces Aspen focuses on, like worship and gathering spaces, have been empty as Americans have stayed safe at home," says Aspen Group Project Architect Craig Dobyns. "My design attention shifted from how we gather and fellowship as a church body in our buildings, to how our buildings can serve the community that is staying at home. Our buildings are still ministry tools, and churches are in a unique position to reimagine their space, even if temporarily."
Recently, Andy Crouch of Praxis challenged pastors on Twitter to think about how they would accomplish their mission if: their budget is cut by roughly half over the next 12 months no gatherings of >100 are allowed for at least a year gatherings of 10-50 can resume this summer in most localities
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In the past two weeks, Aspen Group hosted webinars for approximately 500 church leaders. When we asked attendees which feels more daunting—leaving the church building because of COVID-19 shutdown orders, or reopening church as COVID restrictions ease, an overwhelming majority said relaunching church is a much more daunting prospect. To help you sort through some of the questions you may have about relaunching church in a COVID-19 culture, Aspen Group will present a virtual workshop—Relaunching Church in a New Reality—on Wednesday, May 20, 3:00-4:15 pm EDT, as part of Barna’s State of the Church webcast.
Churches have experienced economic downturns, natural disasters, and more. But previous to COVID-19 hitting the U.S., there has never been a period in modern history when faith communities have been unable to gather and church operations are so badly disrupted as they are today. This disruption has affected every aspect of church life, including giving toward the general fund—every church’s revenue mainstay.
When the COVID-19 crisis forced houses of worship to close their doors, most churches quickly adapted and pivoted to doing online church. According to a Barna/Gloo’s Church Pulse Weekly poll in mid-April, only 3% of the 875 pastors were not doing church services online. Pastors have had to adjust their preaching style to accommodate moving from a big platform to speaking to their flock on a small screen. Churches have also had to learn how to handle the offering moment virtually.
When COVID-19 hit, pastors had to make the shift, nearly overnight, of leading from a sanctuary platform with a room full of people to preaching and teaching on our small screens. As I’ve watched pastors quickly adapt, I can’t get The Producers, a smash hit Broadway musical that was later adapted as a movie, out of my mind.
Since COVID-19 forced the closure of churches across America, we've been listening and learning with church leaders to understand the myriad implications of doing church in new ways. Here are some of the trusted ministry organizations we’ve been following to navigate the impact of COVID-19 on churches:
The Coronavirus pandemic has stretched every church to find new ways to fulfill its mission to be the Body of Christ. The church never was the building. It is and always has been people who make up the church. During this season of social distancing, congregations are learning anew what it means to be the Church.
In this era of church building closures to promote social distancing, congregations are learning anew what it means to be the Church. Reports of churches providing front-line assistance to support medical relief, food distribution, and other social services during this COVID-19 crisis has, in many ways, highlighted what is true: the Church never was the building; it is and always has been about the people.
Churches across the country are gearing up for Easter Sunday, the church’s most-attended day after Christmas. This year, in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, many church leaders are scrambling to celebrate in new ways. According to data from Barna Group’s Church Pulse Weekly poll reported in the Church Pulse Weekly Podcast with David Kinnaman and Carey Nieuhof on April 6, 2020, 57% of churches say they’ll livestream Easter services, 25% say they’ll pre-record and then broadcast services, and 9% say they’ll host an outdoor service with social distancing. Though leaders may feel ill-prepared to celebrate Easter in new ways, people may be riper than ever to hear the message of hope. In a Wall Street Journal article titled, “A Coronavirus Great Awakening?” author Robert Nicholson, writes, “Could a plague of biblical proportions be America’s best hope for religious revival? As the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II approaches, there is reason to think so.” More so than ever in our lifetimes, the Church may have an unprecedented opportunity to reach people with the gospel message of salvation and hope. In this article, we’ll explore who typically attends church on Easter, and how we can prepare for them in the context of a digital experience.