In this current COVID-19 culture, many churches are finding the need to think outside the realm of the normal function of their church facilities in planning how to bring people physically back to church. They're reconfiguring larger worship spaces to conform to smaller gathering standards, and adapting outdoor spaces for prayer walks and as respite for the community. In the following post, Aspen designers, Craig Dobyns, Rob Gordon, Rosie Mitchell, and César Espinoza, share new ways you can use your church parking lot for innovative, safe gathering spaces.
At Aspen, we often talk about creating places that can be an intentional gift for the community—a beautiful space with no cost of admission where people can find rest. Especially in times of heightened anxiety, spaces that connect people with our Creator and the natural world serve as a respite from stress and frustration, especially in this season of COVID. In the following post, Aspen architects Craig Dobyns, César Espinoza, and Rosie Mitchell share design ideas for ways you can create spaces of rest and respite in your church setting.
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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
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.
With churches across the country forced to close their doors to avoid the spread of COVID-19, many pastors and leadership teams have been scrambling to figure out new ways to assemble for worship and fellowship. A church in Kentucky held a worship service in an unused drive-in movie theater, and many others are trying to learn how to livestream for the first time.