2022 is shaping up to be a year of light if churches are willing to embrace the new realities set before them.
With back-to-back years of pandemic-induced trauma, the church is slowly moving out of its protective cocoon to assess the damage left behind. For many churches, that means fewer people, less participation in church life by her members, and less income to help the church reach the community. But with every dark season there comes light in the dawning day before her.
2022 is shaping up to be a year of light if churches are willing to embrace the new realities set before them. During the pandemic, programs, people, and community positions may have dissipated, but that does not have to be the end of the story. This year can be one in which the church rebounds.
1. Capture the Vision
The church’s vision before the pandemic has changed due to the new realities before her. Instead of seeing the vision shattered, see it as an opportunity to reshape and then recast the vision to repurpose the church to reach the community where they are today. Far too many churches found out they were social clubs that closed or lost members during the pandemic. The pandemic exposed the promise found in man and not in God. For each season in the church’s life, the vision is recast to meet the needs for today, while the message of God’s love and redemption remains the same. 2022 can be the year that the church captures a new fresh vision of serving the neighborhood around her.
Spend some time in the first quarter of 2022 talking with your neighbors, meeting new community members, and engaging current church members in conversation about where they see opportunities to serve the community and begin to lay the framework to recapture the vision for the lost.
2. Create Opportunities to Serve
How often have leaders cast a vision in January and never mentioned it until the end of the year? Much like an exercise program or diet that is kicked off when the ball drops in Times Square, the program falls to the wayside over time without attention to detail, discipline, and determination. The vision must move from the page into purposeful action where people are involved and invested.
Do not stop at just one area of service. But offer a variety of places for your people to serve inside and outside the church. Much like the variety found out at a local restaurant, your people do not like the same thing. Play to the skillsets of your people through weekly interactions and long-term relationships serving together, and provide the right community partners for them to connect to in the future.
Host a community fair in your fellowship hall and invite outside agencies and ministry groups to come and share their needs and provide opportunities for your people to ask questions and consider where to best serve. Make sure the commitment is limited to sixty or ninety days and then host another fair. This controlled commitment level enables members to know the time commitment needed. They can either sign up again to serve in the same area or with another organization if they like once the time commitment has been met.
3. Complete a Task to Gain Wins
Coming out of a season of disappointment, attaining early wins can build momentum for more significant wins down the road. As you develop relationships within the community, begin to invest in them, complete the task you’ve agreed on before moving on to the next project. How often has someone started but not finished a project in your house or even the church? Maybe that is you? Finishing honors the commitment made, but it also honors God by signaling that you are ready for the next God project. Completing a task enables the body of Christ that you lead to celebrate what has been accomplished and to begin to dream again for what more God wants to do through your local ministry.
Wins are windows of opportunities to celebrate the volunteers that helped complete the task. Celebrate the church’s community partnerships through an exceptional Sunday service where agencies are highlighted. Have a giving Sunday where a special offering is collected by donating to a worthy cause through a member’s choice voting—reinforcing that the church is there to serve, not to be served.
You may have felt as if 2021 was a losing season in the church’s life, but in 2022 the church can serve like never before if you are willing to lead your people with an eye toward the community.