How do you feel about your church’s fall ministry launch?
I’m guessing it’s a combination of “Finally!” and “Is 2020 over yet? Get me out of here!”
I get it. This fall is unlike any fall ministry season we’ve experienced.
People are nervous and distracted, and we’re limited in what we’re able to do.
If your church is planning to meet in person, you probably have low expectations of how many people will show up.
It can feel like a pretty significant downer.
But here’s the deal. I think we have some real reasons to be excited about this fall.
Here they are.
You’re Probably Reaching More People Than You Think
Yes, it’s true, most churches that are meeting in-person right now are only seeing in the neighborhood of 20-35% of the attendance they experienced in late winter.
Our auditoriums and sanctuaries look very strange with socially-distanced seating.
While it’s easy to slip into negative thinking about our microscopic in-person attendance, here’s the thing: You’re probably reaching more people than you think.
We’ve done a few different studies, and through our online weekend service platforms, we’re actually doing pretty good, and I suspect you are too.
If you just started broadcasting your worship services this spring or summer, your people may be more engaged than ever.
We’ve found that our people regularly “attend” more services because of our online options.
This is a good thing.
As we head into this fall, be encouraged.
More people may be engaging in your worship services than ever before.
It just feels different.
Your Giving Will Probably Be More Stable
Many churches were fearful of heading into the shutdowns from COVID-19.
However, many church leaders have reported a surprising level of financial stability through this season.
I talked with a pastor of a midsize church last week who said that giving has been up about 25% through COVID.
One of the main reasons for the stability of giving is that more churches have fully engaged online and text giving.
One of the blessings of this season is that many churches have adopted more stable giving platforms and aren’t as reliant on in-person offerings.
Side-note, if you haven’t pulled the trigger on online and text giving options, now’s the time!
As we head into this fall, be encouraged.
This might end up being one of your more financially stable seasons.
Pressure Almost Always Leads to Growth
While it’s true that all the restrictions we are operating under can be frustrating and even feel like they are curbing our effectiveness as churches, I think this is far from the truth.
Think back through the history of the Church.
Whenever pressure comes, the Church does well.
From the early Church under Roman persecution to the house church movement in communist China, the Church has grown under pressure. In some cases, exponentially.
Your church is not your church. It belongs to Jesus.
He has a plan, and I think He said something about even the gates of hell not prevailing against His Church.
All I’m saying is don’t be surprised if your church grows in some unexpected ways this fall.
Maybe it won’t be in numbers but rather in depth.
Maybe it will be in numbers.
I would anticipate growth because the Church always grows under pressure.
The Church Never Needed a Building
While we’re on this topic, maybe your church is totally shut down.
Maybe your weekend attendance is less than 10% of what it was.
Here’s the deal: The early Church didn’t have buildings.
Honestly, the Church has never needed buildings.
We don’t need buildings right now.
Perhaps one of the greatest blessings that might come out of this challenging season is realizing we don’t need our buildings to be a growing church.
Many of our churches are going to get creative and figure out how to lead meaningful ministry without large in-person gatherings.
It can be done because it’s been done before.
I fully expect the Church across the world to grow this fall because it always does when the pressure is on.
I expect to look back on fall 2020 and say,
“That’s when churches started….”
“That’s when churches discovered that…”
“That’s when churches stopped relying on…”
Let’s be encouraged this fall.
Yes, it’s good and healthy to mourn the loss of ministry practices and models that we have thoroughly enjoyed and found great success with, but let’s be open to what is needed now.
Let’s be creative and innovative.
Let’s not waste this opportunity to be the Church.