Churches need to realize that just like experiencing an unplanned power outage can cause the loss of any and all unsaved data and work, the loss of power to the computer itself, the need to get all systems back online and the need to retrieve as much lost information as possible, we face equally clear action steps. In light of the realities mentioned at the beginning of this blog, here are five action steps:
First, actively assimilate all new growth, particularly growth gained online. Our mission is to evangelize the lost, assimilate the evangelized, disciple the assimilated and then unleash the discipled. Right now, our forced reboot demands an unprecedented focus on the assimilation component.
Second, cast vision for the mission of the church. Vision is not something that you cast once, people “get it,” and then your church is envisioned forever. No—vision leaks. Fifteen months ago your church may have “gotten it”; 15 months later, chances are they have “forgotten it.”
Third, start over with your volunteer base. Own the fact that you will need to envision people with the beauty and reward of servanthood. You will need to reach out to previous volunteers and work hard to enlist new ones. If you want a sports analogy, consider this a rebuilding year.
Fourth, continue any and all “engagement” events that pull in people who are online. During COVID, few things were emphasized more by our church than keeping people engaged. We were all online; we couldn’t meet in person (or at least like we had). We needed to be intentional about keeping people engaged, so we were. It was the right emphasis. The mistake would be to feel that now that most churches have returned to in-person services, actively seeking to keep people engaged is no longer important—as if the in-person services are doing that for us. They’re not. As already cited, for most churches, in-person service numbers are dreadfully low compared to pre-COVID numbers. Which means that most are still online and in need of active engagement.
Finally, this also means you must continue to prioritize your online campus and all other online resources—and view your online attenders as your largest gathering. Because it is. I have been on a mission to drive this home to our staff, reminding them over and over of the vast difference between the numbers coming to our in-person services, and the numbers participating through our online campus. It would be so, so tempting to have the “event” of in-person services seduce us to seeing it as the event. So, I constantly remind staff of how many people we had attending in person versus how many we had online as a stark reminder to not diminish our efforts there. If anything, we must keep the online efforts a priority.
Of course, there is more at hand with the ending of COVID than what a reboot entails. There is what COVID changed about our world, and our churches, that must be understood and engaged. And much has changed, and not all for the good.
But that will have to wait until my next blog.
“Reeboot,” Wikipedia, read online.
This article originally appeared here.