The world has changed yet our Christian mission has not. The gospel is about transformation, so how can we adjust in the current environment? Here are some concepts to discuss and perhaps act on.
HEART MIND ACTIONS
Most agree it is easier to keep doing what they have done before. However, Proverbs 4:23 reminds us that whatever we harbour in our hearts, leads to the mind conceiving thoughts. Our thoughts then turn into actions, some of which might be erroneous!
A lack of adaption or change might mean we become irrelevant and therefore lose an opportunity to develop our collective mission i.e. Matthew 28: 19-20.
As a faith community, we are familiar with the rituals of gathering. However, the rules of social distancing have been a game-changer making public worship a challenge. According to barna.org, the average number of returnees to churches ranges between 30%-45% of the usual congregation, pre-covid. So, the question to ask is what will become of those who cannot or choose not to attend. What about the online visitors you gained during lock-down? How will you disciple them to full maturity in Christ (Col 1: 28)?
The assemblies I have observed have adapted to church online. Their secret was to focus on relationship building. They achieved their objectives by utilising a mix of live webcasts, interactive small group meetings, creative communications, and social activities. They also enlisted the gifts of their congregation to achieve their goals. Significantly, technology was not the driver, merely the tool.
In Christian traditions, we have become great at using special language (some call it Christianese!). Christianese is a theological language that means nothing to those outside the Church world. We, therefore, appear to be an exclusive club few can join. People are looking for our brand of faith, but we may need to adapt the way we communicate it.
Research shows that there has been an exponential rise in searches for God, Faith, and Hope (among others) since the start of the global pandemic. Imagine if we positioned ourselves to offer hope, build faith, and introduce people to God’s love?
GO WHERE THE PEOPLE ARE
It is unlikely that people will walk into your church building unless they already know your assembly. Think Jesus meeting people where they were e.g. the Samaritan woman, Zacchaeus, et al. We can do the same. But where are the people? Billions of smartphone users access the internet through their phones for social media, podcasts, email. We can reach those people for the gospel if we are prepared to adapt and use the available tools.
About the authour
Minister Madge Obaseki is a strategic Church Consultant, speaker, and advanced trainer. She established Grow The Church Now whose main focus is addressing church retention challenges.
Madge is also the host of Healthy Church Growth Show podcast which offers practical insights on a challenges.