by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director
It’s Easter. We are exhausted (breathe!). We are still quarantined, and now what? The isolation, financial constraints, fear, and death are bigger than life. But try, if you can, to take a deep breath, and then a leap of faith. Visionaries let’s do this together.
Start with observation.
- What are you learning about yourself right now?
- What are you noticing about the people around you?
- Where is God in this?
Write this stuff down. Pay attention to the energy.
49% of all churches are growing right now. Churches of ALL sizes who have jumped online are growing. A month earlier, before the pandemic hit the West, the statistic would have been that between 8-15% of all churches were growing. So that’s more than a 300% spike.
What does this really mean? Can we count this as real growth? And if yes, then now what?
You have proven to yourself that the digital church is real. You now know people are spiritually hungry. They will show up online. It is a low commitment experience of church, but it is an encounter with the sacred nonetheless.
We can skip the membership question for now and start asking:
How do we connect people to each other? How can we practice Bible study, prayer, and mutual care?
Here are a few possibilities:
What if you moved people to Zoom Rooms (easier than you think) during the sermon (which needs to be shorter) so you can encourage them to talk with each other?
Or if your version of digital worship is prerecorded or on Facebook Live, what if you offered an invite for people to join you for coffee or a beer and prayer on Zoom? Wednesday nights? Led by lay leaders? What if the pastor just shows up and doesn’t become the professional pray-er, but is present mainly to listen and learn so the next week’s sermon is more connected?
Or if you leave a reflection question left on the screen at the end of worship for people to take with them into their week? Equipping the home is not a new idea. What if we share the practice of Dwelling in the Word with others them to use it as they read the Gospel for the week?
You will come up with your own list.
Visionaries, we need you to step into this space at a sustainable pace. We need you to stay healthy, so you don’t move into an after Easter slump. Your heart, soul, mind, and strength are crucial to the next year.
Yes, the next year. The change is exponential and is just getting started. We can put a marker on the path of change, even in a whirlwind, so we don’t get beat up trying everything. Leadership is about deciding what you won’t do and what you will do. Vision makes these decisions easier.
How do you discern a vision? Read scripture, pray, write, walk, wonder, listen, talk. It is work. God is working in you. Trust God in yourself a little. Then a little more. Write it down. Share your thoughts with others. Take the risk. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are listening too.