There is something I’ve heard a lot. It’s a common theme for church members and leaders:
“I can’t wait until we are back to normal.”
I understand the statement. We eagerly await the day the full congregation returns to public worship, and everything members need.
Some things we want to return:
- Nursery care
- Children’s programs
- Youth classes
- Adult classes
- The regular service schedule
- Seeing everyone together
Some things we want to end:
- Face coverings
- Social distancing
- Checking for fever
- Everything wiped down
- Fear of touching or being touched
- The perpetual talk about Covid-19
However, there is a growing awareness that the “normal” we long for may never materialize. Nobody knows for sure, but as churches reopen across the country, we are learning some things. Here are five things that shape a new normal.
- Many churches will not see the attendance they had prior to COVID.
- Some members will choose to remain home and participate online.
- Some worship services and bible studies will continue digitally.
- We became multi-site churches and that will remain on some level.
- A heightened sense of risk may stay with us for a long time.
Church leaders need to embrace the new normal instead of grieving for the church they once knew. Smart leaders will view the differences as opportunities and not as disruptions. It won’t be easy. It feels different and strange. But work through it.
New technology can help the church. Most churches haven’t had a large digital footprint, they didn’t need one, but those days are ending. Churches that upgrade their digital capabilities will be able to meet the needs of their congregants and community. The churches that don’t will struggle to catch up.
Churches that were growing before COVID-19 will continue to grow, even with the new normal. Churches that were declining will probably continue to decline.
Here is a thought.
Proud leaders see something they don’t understand and say, “That’s wrong.”
Humble leaders see something they don’t understand and say, “Please teach me.”
The church culture has changed. But it’s the same gospel, the same Savior and the same Heavenly Father. May he bless and guide us as we navigate through different waters.