Even with all the uncertainties around and within us, there appear to be some broad truths and trends emerging that are going to define our work in the Church for the foreseeable future.
I believe the current crises in our churches, our communities and our nation will only be transformed into avenues of blessing when we humbly adopt a commitment to cultivate a spirit of holy curiosity.
I find myself in awe of the clergy and laity offering frontline care of souls in response to COVID-19, lovingly creating ministry alternatives, even from a distance. While these acts of selflessness are themselves a dramatic sign of spiritual renewal, sobering trends confront America’s churches.
The 21st-century, post-pandemic church should not eschew participation in the American economy because of who it might leave out. Instead, it should embrace a new role as a transformative social and cultural guide for doing business in a way that is ethical, sustainable and missional.
Like retailers, universities and hospitals, churches will be having conversations around this question: Are buildings a necessity for delivering our services and ministries? In our new normal, physical location may be only one of many expressions of church.
Every day brings increasingly urgent instructions to retreat physically away from others. While that is a physical necessity, a corresponding relational move toward others is a massive opportunity to show the difference we make in our communities.
If you buy into the popular myth – and faulty metric – that a church should devote no more than 50 percent of its budget to personnel costs, you may risk starving your congregation of its energy or life force.
Rather than thinking of turnaround as simply a reversal of numerical decline, the real turnaround for congregations that thrive in the next decade will be a move from irrelevance to relevance in the lives of their constituents and their communities.
We need more conversation about how to cull the role of the pastor from all that we layer on it. But the particular work of the pastor today includes the integral tasks of connecting, cohering and completing.