“We have already changed,” I replied.
A friend of mine had begun wondering about her congregation’s future beyond the pandemic.
“Do you think this will change us?” she asked. “It’s just so hard to imagine things being the same after the pandemic.”
We have already changed. And not only on a tactical level. The changes we have undergone go deeper than using our website more or live-streaming worship. How we understand ourselves as church, our core identity, is changing, almost right before our eyes.
“Oh, that’s the church that records their worship service.” Or, “I’ll never give up watching our worship services, but that church across town does a wonderful job of providing web content for my kids. So, we do both.” Or, “Now that we don’t have to ‘go’ to church, we actually get more church now than we did before the pandemic.”
These are comments I have heard focused on tactics for ministry. But they indicate a fundamental change in how people are conceptualizing church. They speak to how we understand our identity, what it means to be connected to a congregation, membership, and fundamental aspects of our congregational culture.
We have already changed.
As leaders, we’ll need to figure out which changes are for the better.
And some changes will be for the better.
How can we help prepare people in our church organizations open themselves to being changed? What will people need to leave behind and grieve? Are we prepared to live in chaos for a while even following the pandemic? Have you given any intentional energy to describing what your changed church organization will look like? How will you better serve people when the pandemic is in our past?
We have already changed. It might be time to get intentional about naming the changes. It might be time to begin preparing people in your church organization to be changed for the sake of better serving the world.
Rev. Jim Weckwerth | Consultant | The Joshua Group | email