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One Eye on the Future

By Jesse Criss March 27, 2020

Right now, we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s forced all churches and organizations to basically grind to a halt. People are readjusting on the fly and churches are figuring it out, but it’s really hit and miss on how well it’s working.

Right now, it’s not been about creating anything new as much as just packaging the usual in a slightly different medium. My question is, what would it look like if it all had to change?

Basically, what if we couldn’t go back to business as usual in just a few weeks or months? What would we do? Is the church as a whole flexible enough to adapt to this new reality?

I’m not sure I can answer any of these questions, but as I ponder the future, I see a few things to consider going forward:

  • Physical gatherings may need to be limited to the number of people who can meet in a living room. 
  • Digital teaching and live streaming will be powerful tools, but they should only be tools. These mediums need to be combined with intentional community and in-person relationships. 
  • Every church will need a digital strategy to not only communicate and teach but to connect people together. We can no longer afford to not connect with our church family in a digital capacity. 
  • We must overcome the perception that digital spaces cannot create strong relationships. We will always need physical connections, but in a post-COVID-19 world, digital spaces can augment the space between the moments of physical contact and be a powerful medium of connection. 
  • Our congregations need our help and guidance to become godly digital citizens and not digital tourists. 
  • We need to be less concerned with the puzzle pieces of ministry and more concerned with the “why” that underpins the ministry. The “why” of ministry creates a firm foundation on which anything can be built regardless of it being physical or digital. 
  • Commuter churches need to shift to a community church mindset. The playbook of the past is the first step of our future.
  • Our people must own their own journey of faith. You will no longer be allowed to be a Sunday Christian in this new world. As the church shifts, our people will be called to live a life of faith each day because it won’t be about Sunday anymore.
  • How the church responds next has the potential to guide the world for the first time in a long time.
  • Parents, family, and the home will be the primary place kids discover Jesus. This is the reality already, but we don’t live like it’s a truth. Post-COVID-19, every family will need to come to grips with the fact the pastor/church is there to resource them to do ministry in their homes because that’s where the church will gather—in your home.

How we do any of this is still a wild guess, and I may even be wrong about much of this list. But if even one of these things becomes true, it’s going to be a radical shift for the church. Right now, we have to reach out and take care of the people God has placed in front of us.

However, I challenge you to put one eye on the future and begin to pray for the Holy Spirit to prepare and equip you as God starts laying the foundations of the church’s future. I have no doubt he will, the questions is: will we have the courage and strength to follow him on this new journey?

About the Author

Jesse Criss

Jesse Criss is the founder of Fresh Ministry Consulting, a ministry that exists to help pastors, leaders, and churches get the tools they need to impact students with the Gospel of Jesus. Jesse got his start in youth ministry at the age of 18 and now has more than 20 years of experience in youth ministry. His…  Read More