Season of Change (The Post-COVID-19 Church)
A while ago the topic that was hot on everybody’s lips was: “How do we get back to normal, after the lockdown restrictions?” Questions such as: When do businesses re-open, when will social distancing be removed, how will the economy recover, will a vaccine be found? & I guess, the big one for us as Christ Followers; when will church open again & how will it look? Questions such as, can we sing again, can we have communion etc.? During this period, these were the questions that weighed heavily on my heart.
It’s a good discussion for us to be having as well. What lessons have we learned during the lockdowns? What helpful new practices have we come across? Should we necessarily go back to the way things were done pre-COVID-19?
Here are some thoughts I feel might be worth considering.
- We have loved one another
I’m overwhelmed at the love that has been shown by this church to our fellow believers. Facebook groups for sharing resources; acts of random generosity as gifts get dropped at the door; the countless telephone calls & looking beyond the usual circle of friends to embrace others.
- We have used technology & have been creative
Social restrictions have forced many of our interactions to be via video chat. These new formats have been challenging—but also at times surprising. Some Bible study groups have never had so many people in them! Online sermons have reached a wider audience. Of course, there may be a novelty factor to explain this.
You may be exhausted from your daily slog through Zoom/Skype meeting after meeting, giving you a negative attitude towards online gatherings—it is certainly like that for me! However, maybe there’s a place for at least some small groups to stay online even when COVID has ended. Of course, nothing beats physically meeting with others for discussion & prayer around God’s word, but COVID-19 may not be the only season of life when online groups are worth pursuing.
- Could this be a Shift in the way we think?
Some things to do with church we never want to change, for example prayer, worshipping our great God, preaching the Word, fellowship with one another, communion etc. But what structures, activities, meetings, councils/gatherings can we alter? All the things our church run should be intentionally kingdom focused, not just historically kingdom focused. The COVID-19 restrictions have given us a unique opportunity to evaluate whether our church activities are kingdom focused.
Post-COVID-19 life will give us something that many churches only ever wished for: an almost-blank canvas! Let’s not go back & automatically recreate the old painting with all its blemishes. Let’s paint a new, exciting painting with an even greater gospel-shaped colour scheme.
COVID-19 is an awful event that no-one would ever wish on the world. However, with every challenge there also comes opportunity. And as horrible as COVID-19 is, there is also opportunity for us to rethink—& if need be, reinvent—how to best live for Jesus & his kingdom.
So, what lessons have you learned during the lockdowns? What helpful new practices have you come across? Will you go back to the way things were done before COVID-19?