A phrase I hear often accompanying all of these strange new terms like coronavirus, remote learning, and antibody testing, is “new normal”. We all seem to be searching for this new normal. I’m not sure we are there yet, but things certainly are changing and rapidly.
Each time I feel I have my footing things change again. This is causing a change in the way we do things in education, business, and certainly at church. Some of these changes will end up being not only necessary but beneficial in the long run. While some changes feel uncomfortable and frustrating, they are still simply necessary for this new normal.
5 ways the church has changed from the Coronavirus:
1. Greater Dependence on Technology
- Whether you are part of a small church or a big church, suddenly we all need technology much more than ever before. The churches that already had an online presence were able to transition smoothly to keep their members connected. However, for other congregations there may be a struggle to even maintain a website or social media, this has been a tremendous learning experience. Technology is not always easy initially and many church leaders have had to learn quickly. Moving forward, it is extremely important for churches to have their members connected digitally for community, teaching, giving, and more.
2. Heightened Importance of Sanitation
- Most churches strive to keep their facilities clean and sanitized but now it is an absolute priority. You may not have had much for your building and grounds committee to do, but that has changed! It will be imperative to have an ongoing plan for daily cleaning and sanitation as well as making sure any touchpoints remain sanitized when people are using your facility. This will require organization, manpower, and money for this in the budget.
3. Increased Need for Staff Communication
- With so much changing daily and limited facetime with other staff members, the need for intentional daily communication is imperative to keep ministry happening. You may have had a monthly or even weekly staff meeting but this may change to the whole staff communicating more often. We are being asked to do ministry in a way that is completely unfamiliar and even unprecedented, so this means none of us actually know what we are doing or the right way to do this. Therefore, t’s so important for leadership to be connecting with one another in real-time as decisions need to be made and people look to their staff for leadership and direction.
4. Realization of the Need to Think Outside the Box
- None of us would have believed you if you told us we would not meet together for weeks and weeks. That ministry would not be face to face for most of the spring and mostly into summer. This has required so many of us to remember why we are in ministry and what drives us to love the people in our congregation. This remembering also has brought many of us to a desperate place of thinking creatively so we can meet the needs of our members and stay connected with them. This new normal is going to require us to continue to think outside the box and approach ministry creatively. This is a good thing, but can be uncomfortable initially!
5. So Much of Church Happens Outside the Walls of the Church
- Of course, we knew this but now that we have had to lead, teach, and serve our congregation, but without actually being together at church, it has reminded us of this actuality. So much connection, serving, loving, listening, praying, and leading happens in the day to day and most certainly can happen in our community and not even in person! Technology has made a connection at times different, but most certainly possible during this time of separation!
Yes, we are living and serving in unprecedented times. Yet, we are equipped to continue to lead our congregations to grow and serve others even though we may be experiencing different levels of physical separation.
We didn’t ask to learn these new lessons, but hopefully and prayerfully, they are lessons we will not forget as we transition back to an even “newer normal”. These lessons in thinking outside the box and embracing new opportunities to love people in different ways will serve us well as we strive to serve our congregations well!