The Only Thing Constant is Change!!!!
As the COVID 19 Pandemic begins to flat line, and eventually decrease…God willing…changes will be made. Some of these changes will be mandated for churches to begin meeting and may very well become part of the culture of some churches. Restrictions in some states are easing up and worship will soon be taking place in what were empty sanctuaries and worship centers just a few Sundays ago.
Here are some changes I believe you can expect to see for the next few months and maybe the foreseeable future for Christian congregations:
Some members not returning is unfortunate, but true. Some will find other places to worship, some will find someone online to follow, some will just fall away. Don’t expect everyone to return. Some fellowships will cease to exist. For some churches, this pandemic will be the end of their struggle for viability.
Social distancing will be present in worship. As Christ followers, our instincts and desires to show affection for one another are hallmarks of our faith. For the time being, we will be relegated to verbal expressions of love and support. Immediate families and those under the same roof will be able to sit together, but social distancing will apply for extended family and friends during services and gatherings.
Occupancy restrictions will force churches with more than 50 members to offer additional services. Whether that means multiple Sunday morning services or the addition of Friday or Saturday night options, churches will have to make accommodations for their members to gather.
Attendance patterns will change. For several months, older folks with underlying health problems will be staying home. People who aren’t feeling good will also stay at home. Communication and visitation with these members will become increasingly important.
Online streaming will become more and more important. Now that folks have gotten used to worshipping while staying at home, look for this to continue to increase. Marginal members will choose convenience over regular attendance.
Every church will become more concerned about cleanliness. Commonly touched objects will have to be regularly cleaned and touch ups will become mandatory between services.
Collecting Tithes and Offerings will become more prevalent through online giving. Passing of the offering plate will not be a part of worship as we return to church, so giving in other ways must be considered. Mailing of checks will increase as well, until updated methods become the main stay of giving.
Most churches will be forced to face some hard budget decisions. The unemployment rate will probably not return to pre-virus levels for years. Therefore, most churches will suffer income decline. Decisions will have to be made. Major issues such as budget shortfalls and other needs will occupy a lot of time. Most churches will suffer income decline during the quarantine, so budget problems will take up a lot of time. Churches will need to determine what is important and what can be left to later.
The economy will not bounce back as quickly as people believe. Therefore, benevolence needs will increase. Food banks and help with utility payment requests will grow over the next few months.
God is not surprised by any of this. Christ is still on the throne and all of this is part of His will for His creation. No matter what changes occur, Christians want and more importantly…NEED…to worship together. We will, and for His glory alone, do what has to be done.