When shelter-at-home orders are lifted, we will probably not immediately go back to holding church in our buildings.
Restrictions to gather will likely be loosened in stages.
First, I expect we’ll be allowed to leave our homes and gather in small groups, and that will probably last for a few weeks or more.
Then, it will be increased to 50 people, and so on.
Depending on your church size, it may be a while before your church is back to meeting in your building.
So, what’s the plan when our attendees can do most of the things they were doing before COVID-19 but still can’t attend church in your building?
I’m realizing we need a strategy for that in-between time—when we can gather but not in big groups.
And I think it would be wise to have a plan before we get there.
I’d like to share an idea on how we can leverage that time to build our churches closer together.
Right now, most of us are attempting to figure out church online.
We’ve gotten our services live-streaming, our children and student ministries are figuring out creative ways to engage people digitally, and our small groups are meeting on Zoom, FaceTime, or some other platform.
But what’s next?
What people are craving right now are connection and relationships.
The other day my neighbor said, “I just miss hugging people.”
Sometimes when I am out for a run, and I see another person, I think, “Look! It’s a human!”
This season is weird.
It’s weird, but it’s also revealing something that we all need desperately—real connection.
Bridging the Gap
What would it look like to capitalize on the intermediate period between quarantine and meeting in our church building again, with a strategy that focuses on connecting people relationally?
Here’s an idea: What if we encourage our church attendees to gather friends in their homes, share a meal, pray, and join our online church services together?
It’s almost like a “home church.”
Sharing a meal and watching church together has the potential to grow people closer together, and I’m excited to see what that might look like for our church.
As you’re thinking through building a plan for this next season, I encourage you to consider ways to leverage this time and how you can develop a ministry plan that serves families, equipping them with some form of children’s ministry, discussion questions, etc.
Another strange shift in our approach to ministry is likely coming, and we need to be ready to navigate when we’re allowed to gather in 10s but not 100s.
If we’re willing to innovate, I believe we can develop ministry strategies and practices in this unwanted season that will make us more effective when we emerge from quarantine.
I’m beginning to envision this time as a huge opportunity for connection, relationship building, and outreach if we are ready for it by creating a strategy and a plan.
We’d love to hear from you. How are you planning for this next season in ministry?