As we settle into the new norm COVID-19 has created for us, it’s time to think about what happens when our churches reopen. How can we begin to start preparing for operations after such an unprecedented change in the way we preach, gather and worship? I convened a number of highly esteemed church leaders in a webinar to explore the path to moving forward after COVID-19. With me on the webinar were:
- Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor, The Village Church
- Eric Geiger, Senior Pastor, Mariners Church
- Dave Dummitt, Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church
- Bryan Carter, Senior Pastor, Concord Church
- Josh Surratt, Lead Pastor, Seacoast Church
- Jeanne Stevens, Lead Pastor, Soul City Church
- Dr. Rich Kannwischer, Senior Pastor, Peachtree Presbyterian Church
Ways to Approach Reopening Churches
The most common strategy pastors are using when looking at reopening the church is watching and waiting to see how things will turn out over the next few weeks. There’s the potential that we will begin gathering in phases, starting out with 20–50 people gathering and growing from there over weeks or months. This reality is leading pastors to create contingency plans for the reopening of their church. Slowly phasing gatherings over a period of time can benefit our community by putting the spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional health of our congregations first.
Each pastor on the panel expressed the importance of honoring those in leadership and following the directives of the governor and mayor the whole way through this process. There’s a new reality post-COVID-19, and the way we once gathered will inevitably look different. It’s important to find ways to help our community prepare for this new way of gathering in the future. Although there’s no definitive date to gather again, it’s imperative for pastors to intentionally and genuinely love and serve their community well in the meantime.
Seven Keys to Reopen the Church
1. The most obvious takeaway is that use of online platforms during COVID-19 is being maximized. It may be challenging but necessary for leaders to begin considering how this translates to the way we do church in the future. How have you been reaching your audience during this time?
2. Even in the midst of uncertainty, leaders can find hope in being able to gather again. As pastors look forward to reopening their church, it’ll be imperative for them to stay about a month ahead and prepare accordingly. Stay up-to-date on the latest gathering laws to ensure you’re prepared with hope-filled messages, service opportunities, and a full staff to open again.
3. Pastors should adjust their future ministry model to accommodate the decisions of the government by slowly phasing gatherings for the well-being of our community.
4. Consider where your community stands emotionally to guide them in the most appropriate way. If you know a large population of your church suffered emotionally or financially due to the pandemic, offer messages tailored to their current needs. If your congregation was overall fortunate enough to fare well, consider providing messages of service and love to those in the community.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, William Vanderbloemen