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Phil Cooke: What Every Church Leader Needs to Know For the Coming Year

coming year

It’s been a tough year for churches. We experienced unprecedented shutdowns due to the virus and in some states, churches had to go to court to fully re-open. In today’s secular culture, opening casinos and bars seemed to have a much higher priority than houses of worship. But hopefully we’re moving forward, and as we consider the next year or more, here’s two critical points pastors and church leaders need to know for the coming year:

1) The pandemic and its restrictions will last far longer than we thought. Even a vaccine won’t make it magically go away – especially with recent surveys that indicate only 1/3 of the U.S. population would take the shot, 1/3 definitely won’t, and the last third aren’t sure.

That response means that masks, hand washing, and social distancing will be around for the coming year. Plus, I’ve always said that even when the government releases all mandates and rules, the question will only be settled when enough people feel comfortable gathering in large groups again, and that may be awhile.

Which leads us to the second issue:

2) Your live stream will continue to be a critical link to your congregation. In my opinion, even after the rules are relaxed, a significant number of people will cut back the number of worship services they attend physically. People have gotten used to “church at home” so prepare to see a number cut their attendance back one or two weekends a month to stay home and watch online.

Which means this isn’t the time to let up on the gas pedal when it comes to your livestream services.

Although you’re back in the building and not filming a special service during the week, it’s time to upgrade your video capabilities during the service itself. Plus, continue connecting with your congregation via social media. Regular posting, Instagram and Facebook interviews, and other live online events will help keep the momentum going between weekends.

The future is now. The pandemic will have a longer lasting impact on worship services that we thought, well into the coming year, so this is the moment to take your church media outreach seriously.  

If you have questions or are wondering how to take your video and online services to the next level, I’d encourage you to get my new book: ”Maximize Your Influence: How to Make Digital Media Work for Your Church, Your Ministry, and You.  It’s available right now for a donation to The Influence Lab, our ministry to teach and train Christians internationally to use media for sharing the gospel.


This article originally appeared here, and is used by permission.

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Phil Cooke is the founder and CEO of Cooke Media Group in Los Angeles (CookeMediaGroup.com) where his team helps church, ministry, and nonprofit organizations engage the culture more effectively through media. He's a filmmaker, media consultant, and author of "Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media."