The pandemic has changed us in ways we still don't fully understand, but the future of church gatherings will be a combination of physical and digital space. At Barna, we asked, “After the COVID-19 pandemic, what kind of church gathering will fit your lifestyle best?” The majority of people said physical gatherings will be important; those aren't going to go away. What was interesting is that there is also a sense that both physical and digital experiences are going to be favored. Before, technology was a barrier to us in how we were joining church. Now, we have people whose virtual literacy has gone up immensely over this period, across generations.
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.
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
Brookville Road Community Church in New Palestine, Indiana, exists to inspire people to become wholehearted followers of Jesus. They place a special emphasis on reaching men because they've found that when husbands and fathers feel more comfortable in the space, they are more likely to return to church and bring their family. The leaders at Brookville Road have cued into a reality that Barna uncovered in a recent study on men in America titled, Five Essentials to Engage Today’s Men. The study, in partnership with BetterMan, a resource for men’s ministries, was conducted to find out how both churchgoing Christians and men overall are navigating 21st-century waters.
This month, we had the privilege of hosting a conversation with Monty Kelso, President and CEO of Slingshot Group, a team that helps churches and nonprofits hire well and coach existing leaders. The topic was timely because October is Pastor’s Appreciation Month. Whether you’re a pastor or a church member, Monty shared tips on helping pastors maintain their resiliency, fight off discouragement, and stay focused in this age of COVID.
During COVID, the opportunities for ministry impact have increased along with the complexities of how to offer an engaging and safe worship experience. Church leaders have wrestled with what to offer and how to offer it. How can you deliver high-impact, engaging worship services in the midst of constantly changing circumstances? How do you incorporate additional campuses if you’re a multisite church? How can you make the most of your facility during a time of varying usage?
As a design/build/furnish firm for churches, Aspen Group has been helping pastors and their ministry teams navigate the change that comes with church facility projects. Now, in this era of COVID-19, church leaders are experiencing unprecedented change. Every pastor and church leader will need support navigating the difficult leadership issues during this season, particularly as you think about reentering or reopening your building, and especially as you relaunch your church into a new future.
This has been a difficult season for every business, organization, and church as we deal with the impacts of both the Coronavirus and the extenuating economic crisis left in its wake. No doubt your church is thinking about next steps and trying to wrestle through what comes next, including the process around reopening your church and how to deal with the financial implications that your church is facing. Getting your church fully online took a lot of work, but now there are 1,001 other decisions that you need to make.
In my role at Aspen, I am typically the first person to field calls and emails from churches that want to discuss a potential building project or facility need. When the COVID-19 crisis hit, my phone stopped ringing, and I received few emails from leaders asking to help solve their ministry space challenges. With churches forced to leave their buildings, everyone was reacting to the crisis and making fast pivots to swiftly adapt the way they were doing church.
It may be a while before we can use our church facilities for large-group gatherings. Nonetheless, there are creative ways to maximize all the square footage in a church, even big spaces that you may not currently be able to use for their intended purpose. For example, one way to adapt large indoor and outdoor areas is to create a prayer walk. Even in quarantine, our attention and focus is pulled away from God. Prayer walks provide a place for solitary reflection and reconnection with God, while keeping people at a safe distance from each other.
Churches are faced with myriad decisions about how to make worship facilities safe and sanitary as they decide on the best timing to reopen for in-person worship and ministry programs. How will you manage traffic flow and seating to keep people socially distanced? Do you have enough hand sanitizer stations strategically placed throughout the building? How will you receive the offering and share communion to avoid spreading COVID? While all of these are significant questions, there's another equally critical one to ask: Are your people ready to return to church?