12 Ways We’ll Be Different When We Gather Again

Some thoughts on what will have changed

We’re all looking forward to the day when we’re past this COVID-19 crisis enough that our churches can worship together again. None of us can know for certain how we’ll be different when that happens, but here are some of my guesses. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

1. Many folks will be less concerned about minor things that they previously elevated as major. After months of being separated, some of us may find that the things we used to fight over were just silly.

2. We’ll be less inclined to go to church if we’re feeling bad. Some believers had already grown accustomed to staying home with each cough, but now more of us will likely follow suit—and necessarily so. Older folks will especially be careful.

3. Churches will be more sensitive to safety and cleanliness protocols in the nursery and children’s departments. Washing hands, sanitizing toys, and cleaning furniture never have been optional, but more church leaders will emphasize these responsibilities.

4. We’ll continue having some leadership meetings, small groups, and equipping sessions via electronic means. We’ll still go back to on-campus events, but we’ve also learned that we can do a lot without gathering in person. In fact, some of us have seen even greater attendance in small groups.

5. Online giving will continue to grow. Even those of us who have been less willing to give online have learned that it works—and, it’s easier than writing a check every week.

6. We’ll have to utilize, affirm, and celebrate multiple services in multiple locations. At least for a while, many of our churches still won’t be permitted to gather in large groups—so we’ll still need to adjust our approaches.

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7. Congregations will need to be prepared to help with benevolence needs. Even if some of our members are out of work for only a few months, the needs will still be greater than they’ve been in the recent past. Churches will need to prioritize taking care of each other.

8. We may be more open to making hard budget calls. Nobody knows for certain how this crisis will affect giving in the months to come. Churches may, however, face reducing staff—and I suspect that this crisis will make leaders more willing to do so.

9. We preachers may talk more literally than figuratively about people “wearing masks.” We’ve talked that way in the past, but we were talking about hypocrisy and phoniness. Now, some of the masks we speak about will be literal ones.

10. Some members whose attendance was sporadic prior to COVID-19 will not return. When you’re already out of the habit of attending—and apparently see no need to prioritize it—it doesn’t take much to fall out completely.

11. We’ll struggle with greeting each other without a handshake or a hug. For most of us, that’s all we’ve ever known … and, frankly, it will be interesting to see how long it takes before we’re back to old patterns.

12. It’s possible—though I pray not—that churches will be less committed to global missions. Travel will likely be less frequent. Visas may be even harder to secure. Some church members may be more hesitant to welcome internationals to our shores. We pastors simply must work hard to keep our churches turned toward the nations in the days to come.

What would you add to this list?

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This article originally appeared on ChuckLawless.com and is reposted here by permission.