Pastors: If 2020 Feels Like Your First Year on the Job, You’re Not Alone (Here’s What to Do Next)
Even if you’ve been in ministry for decades, 2020 may have felt like your first year on the job. Although your church’s message was unchanging, many other elements felt like moving targets as you worked to adapt your physical ministry space, digital presence, and perhaps, even your ministry priorities.
Your leaders have likely asked more questions than ever, too. Perhaps you’ve heard questions like:
Should we create a reservation system for worship services? What does discipleship look like now? What is the best use of our facility? How can we keep people safe and help them feel welcome? How can we make the most of our online service? What is the best way to gather small groups right now? How can we best serve our community amid social distancing?
These questions stem from some common overarching ministry themes. Sound familiar? If so, what’s next?
Wondering what's next for churches in 2021? Don't miss "Building for a Better Future" with Aspen and Barna
1. You Keep Finding Yourself in New Territory.
Maximizing your online ministry requires ongoing evaluation and tweaks, but by now, you may feel more comfortable with what you’re offering as it relates to worship services. Now, it’s time to keep learning and growing related to how you’re engaging people in the area of discipleship.
Perhaps you’re meeting in your church building, which is a familiar place, but it seems out of alignment with your ministry’s goals and needs right now. Some areas are at maximum capacity according to local guidelines, while other areas are underutilized.
All progress has a starting place. Many churches have evaluated the key spaces where people are most likely to interact first: worship centers, lobbies, and children’s areas. How could you adapt to support safe and welcoming interactions in your key areas? Adaptability and flexibility will be essential future components in both physical and digital ministry. Even more ideal is to bring those ministry experiences together in a more cohesive way.
2. Simple Efforts Have Become More Complex.
From interacting with a guest and serving coffee to adapting the traffic flow in your lobby due to COVID, ministry elements that used to be relatively straightforward have gotten blurry. Many ministry leaders have found themselves working down in the details a little more than usual. In the midst of it all, we encourage you to take a moment to pause, refresh, and revisit your mission.
As you move forward, start by focusing on your ministry essentials. Perhaps it would look something like this:
Sharing an unchanging gospel message
Serving your community
Examine the tactics in each of your essential categories. What needs to be addressed in your physical and digital spaces to achieve those goals? Do you need a new setup in your worship room to maximize online services? Could you rework your lobby to host people safely for worship and also allow for socially-distanced conversations? How can you help people continue the discipleship process online?
3. The 2020 Plan Changed. Now It's Time to Create a New One.
The plan you rolled out in 2020 changed dramatically. The good news is that your church adapted, and now it’s time to prepare for a new year of opportunities. What kind of strategy will you need to adapt?
As we talk with churches across the country, we hear similar themes and questions, many of which can be addressed with a strategy that combines their physical, onsite experiences with their digital opportunities. Welcome to the era of the "phygital" church.
What Is a Phygital Strategy?
With a phygital ministry approach, a church’s physical and digital efforts work in tandem, complementing one another and creating a more personalized, memorable, and engaging experience for members and guests.
Phygital experiences provide seamlessly integrated opportunities, placing a high value on meeting people where they are and helping them engage in their faith journey in much the same way they navigate other parts of their lives.
To explore how you could begin moving in this direction, answer the following questions, keeping your mission and essential 2021 ministry goals in mind.
- What are the things that will need to happen within our physical space?
- How could our physical space enhance the digital worship experience?
- What are the things that should continue (or start) to happen digitally?
- How can we learn to engage digital tools that will make the physical experience more enjoyable and vice versa?
- How could digital accelerate ministry opportunities through automation and more convenient processes?
For more inspiration and innovative solutions to help you and your church leadership team formulate a phygital strategy, be sure to watch the video replay of Aspen’s “Phygital Church” webinar with Ministry Space Strategist Greg Snider.