A.T. Hargrave

Post Pandemic Church (Part 2)

In part 1, I referred to recent statistics showing one out of every three Christians in the USA are not attending any church after the pandemic, and half of practising Christian Millennials did not livestream church services during quarantine. 

But how do we handle the new circumstances? God is speaking and using the circumstances to wake up His church, so here are some suggestions:

Face the hard truth - the problem is not medical it is cultural. Medical concerns perhaps stop an extremely small percentage gathering. People are not coming due to something in the culture.

New Metrics for measuring success - Prioritize engagement with people rather than attendance, whether attendance is online, social media, or events. Measure the “touch points,” the places we engage with people and not just the same people.

Embrace the home and community as the new hub of ministry - Ministry has never been reserved for a church building but that is increasingly important now. This will require the recruiting, training, equipping and mobilizing of all saints as ministers.

Clarity of focus on equipping - due to the above, core members should be trained, equipped, encouraged and mobilized to minister in their homes and communities.

Simplify what church means - getting back to the basics and thinking in terms of what can be multiplied easily and not how complex and impressive we can make Sunday events.

Discipling for evangelism - prioritizing sharing the gospel does not mean that our sermons are more evangelistic. It means we disciple all our people to evangelize. This can be done relationally, through setting an example and encouraging.

Re-focusing for the future - the future of the church will be less about “pulling off a Sunday” and more about the equipping, training, pastoring and mobilizing of the congregation. 

Do we need online? - though an online presence will need to remain strong, as a resource and as a signpost, it is not the way forward. What if we offer online engagement but listeners have to request the link to the whole sermon so we could at least have a contact point to follow up? Real people need real connections with people.

How these work in practice in a particular context means asking:

Why are we wanting people to attend anyway? 

What value do our gatherings contribute?

What sort of gatherings will contribute value and achieve our vision?

How can we make our gatherings more valuable and meaningful?

What key changes in thinking, methods, and/or theology is this reality forcing us to consider or make?

AT is Teaching Pastor of Destiny Christian Centre, based in Oklahoma City, and an experienced leadership coach as well as pastor.  He is part of the team facilitating the All Nations family in the USA.