As a KidMin Specialist for Orange, I coach children’s ministry teams throughout the country and get a glimpse behind the leadership curtain of many different churches. During COVID-19, no area has been fraught with as many safety and logistical challenges as your children’s ministry. If you don’t have a kidmin leader who’s part of your church leadership team, it’s time to include them!
Most churches have learned how to use digital tools to continue to share the gospel and help people find an anchor in this storm. Week by week throughout the pandemic, churches have become more adept at producing online worship services and conducting small groups and children’s ministry via social media and video platforms. Now, the urgency of trying to figure out how to shepherd congregations virtually is giving way to a new question—what shape will ministry programs take in light of all we’ve learned during the pandemic?
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
As the country began to shut down last year because of COVID, Pastor Taylor Burgess and his leadership team at Cross Community Church in Beaufort, South Carolina, made an important decision. As a church, they would not lie down and die. They committed to facing the future with courage. Cross Community has been working on transitioning from a portable to permanent space, plus navigating a capital campaign, all amid the pandemic. I spoke with Taylor, who serves as lead pastor, to see what advice he would offer other churches in the midst of a building project or other major change.
Pioneering as an online church may not have been at the top of your plan last year, but you faced challenges and discovered opportunities in the midst of a pandemic. Now, you’ve shifted into a time of anticipation and planning for what comes next for your church, both online and in-person.
A year ago, churches were struggling to process the reality that their building would be closed for Easter. This year, while we’re still pondering COVID-related questions, we see more churches shifting into phases of reopening. Will your church reopen in a more significant way this Easter season, or are you anticipating a larger crowd than you’re currently hosting for services? Either way, if your building is open, you’ll likely have people who are new to your church and some who have decided to return in-person during Easter. Now is an excellent time to assess your facility and consider how to create an environment that is safe, welcoming and puts guests at ease so they can focus on connecting with God and others.
When COVID-19 hit the U.S., church leaders faced the unexpected and overwhelming challenge of closing their doors. You may have had to quickly figure out how to stream services and move ministry activities online. Now, you’re likely grappling with the daunting details of how to reopen your facilities for in-person worship and other ministries. You and your church leadership team are wrestling myriad questions and concerns about how to relaunch church in COVID-safe ways. At the same time, as a leader, you need to lift your eyes, look out at the horizon, and ask, “What have we learned about our church in this crisis that can help us prepare for a new season of ministry?”
Churches are in the midst of a huge transition. They’re prioritizing both the physical experience of people gathering in person for church, as well as the digital experience of people connecting online for worship, fellowship, and learning. Welcome to the world of “phygital” church—the blending of the physical and digital to maximize how churches connect with people and help them draw closer to God and others. My Aspen colleague, Rob Gordon, and I met on Facebook Live for a conversation about phygital church. Rob and others on Aspen's design team are continually asking, How can we use principles of architecture and design to create a phygital experience at church?
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.
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."
Even as the new year starts, churches across America are facing ongoing challenges brought on by the pandemic. Added to the effects of COVID are tectonic shifts in culture that are changing the way churches will reach people with the hope of the gospel. Aspen has been partnering for years with Barna to explore how to leverage data and design to build a better future for the Church.