Many churches are outdated, irrelevant and their systems are decades old.
The COVID-19 crisis sparked a reawakening for the American church. It is time for the churches to update their systems and strategies.
The corona crisis crashed the system of the current church and brought to the forefront the need for strategic and relevant change.
We will look back to this crisis and mark it as the finest hour for the church. The pandemic has forever changed the way the church will provide ministry.
Churches have a great opportunity to rise and shine in this hour.
These are the "must" strategies for 2020:
Connect to Their Community
The corona crisis opened a wide door for churches to reconnect to their members, neighbors, city officials and communities.
It's the season for the church to let its light shine bright.
"Don't hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so they will praise your heavenly Father" (Matt. 5:15-16, TLB).
Many churches have stepped up their game by meeting the humanitarian needs of people.
Thousands of pastors believe the crisis has given the church a second chance.
Tons of churches and nonprofits joined arms with city and state officials and federal programs. Hundreds of people volunteered with food banks and other city programs to serve the elderly and the less fortunate.
Churches, represented by pastors, members and volunteers are serving at food pantries, soup kitchens and delivering vital supplies to the homebound.
The response is phenomenal.
Provide Online Prayer
Many churches launched new prayer lines and Facebook Live prayer sessions.
Prayer lines are a life support to many people. Prayer partners give a source of faith, hope and love to each other.
"Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven" (Matt. 18:19, MEV).
And while hope and faith are big, connection may be more important.
The quarantine created a vacuum of personal connection and physical touch.
Praying online might be temporary, but the pandemic has changed religious practices for good. Durham University's Phillips says that even though the COVID-19 pandemic might one day "end" (whatever that means), churches have long needed to adapt their purpose for the digital age.
There are few people who turn down the opportunity to receive personal prayer. And the online prayer lines have found a niche.
Launch a Digital Service
The corona crisis and social distancing uncovered a missing piece for the 2020 church. Most churches are behind the eight ball when it comes to producing quality video.
Government restrictions temporarily shut down church meetings.
Seventy-five percent of churches were unprepared to launch a virtual service for their members.
And it showed.
Most churches were not prepared for what was coming. Without an analog service, digital is our only choice to keep people connected.
A small portion of the churches were ready for the shift, and their media team was on point.
Although we weren't ready, the shift to online church propelled the church into the future at a record pace. We may never look back.
"Do not remember the former things nor consider the things of old. See, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not be aware of it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert" (Isa. 43:18–19).
The opportunity to provide a quality digital experience is a game-changer in the future of the church.
Offer safe online giving
The coronavirus has forced the American church to catch up to the rest of the world. Churches have resisted digital giving for a decade. The church is notorious for staying a decade behind innovation.
No one dreamed churches would cancel services. Right? Churches have relied upon gathering and receiving an offering for hundreds of years.
Suddenly, no service. No offering and no money.
It is amazing how creative we become when money is in the formula.
Pastors jumped to solving the money problem.
In 2014, the worldwide number of mobile internet users exceeded the number of desktop users, and the gap has been growing ever since. So you're missing out if your donors aren't experiencing a giving scenario that has the mobile user in mind.
Pastors chose one of these solutions:
Choosing one of these options (or others) helped solve the financial woes.
Digital giving also solved a problem for the church and its members. Faithful members desire to give to their church. And churches depend upon the contributions from members to fund the church and other programs.
Most churches fund their benevolence giving through the donations of its members.
"Give to everyone who asks you. And of him who takes away your goods, do not ask for them back" (Luke 6:30).
The corona crisis stopped the flow of funds to churches without online giving.
Digital giving is a must for the church of the future.
Empower Their Members
The corona crisis shut the doors to churches across America. No one could go to church but forced the church to come to us.
Pastors that care for the well-being of their people realized we had to find a way to teach and empower our church family.
"But he who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and runs away. So the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because he is a hired hand and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know My sheep and am known by My own" (John 10:12–14).
The virus isolated and fragmented church members.
Online services keep the members connected and encouraged.
Healthy churches thrive on connection and community. The churches that focus on serving their members will survive the crisis.
The churches doing business as usual or waiting for the good ol' days will suffer and become irrelevant.
The churches of the future will thrive with these strategies in place:
—Connection to the members
This verse is tough but true.
"For to him who has, will more be given, and he will have abundance. But from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away" (Matt. 13:12).
The digital church is the church ready for the future.
Not only will these churches be ready for the next pandemic, but they will also be ready for the next decade.
This article was first posted here.
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