Have you purchased groceries during this uncertain year of 2020? My family has. I’m sure yours has too. Our grocery items haven’t changed much this year. We like the same brand of chicken, the same type of vegetables. I still am not a fan of bananas. I still am a very big fan of ice cream…a good source of calcium! So the contents in our grocery basket haven’t changed. But, the WAY we pick-up our groceries has changed significantly during the coronavirus. Our grocery store still allows us to stroll down every aisle with our shopping cart…old school. But now we also can order online and pick-up curbside; without ever leaving our vehicle. Or we can pay for delivery to our home. So many new delivery options. Same groceries.
The apostle Paul was on a mission to spread the good news of Jesus to everyone. As we read the letters he wrote to the various churches, he regularly reminded them to stay focused on the unchanging truth of the gospel of Jesus (Galatians 3, 1 Timothy 4, 2 Timothy 2, etc.). He warned them not to add new and intriguing teachings. He insisted that the message remain consistent and unchanged. Same message.
This same apostle Paul also talked about using innovative methods to DELIVER this unchanging message. In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Paul says, “…I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel….” He says, he uses “all possible means” to convey the unchanging gospel message. So the message never changes, but the delivery methods change based on the circumstances, based on the audience, based on the culture, and based on the pandemic of 2020.
How has your church changed delivery methods during this uncertain year? Many are streaming their Sunday services online. Some have added their Sunday Children’s services online. Some moved their small groups to meeting online. Many of these churches have seen significant increase in the number of people engaging online. Church leaders have added these new delivery methods to expand access to the message while people had to stay at home.
Now, some states are relaxing restrictions and some churches are re-opening. This is exactly our prayer…that the coronavirus would subside, churches would re-open and everyone would return to attending Sunday services on-campus again…the same as in prior years.
However, many churches that have been re-opened the longest (some have been re-opened for over 7 weeks now) are seeing an interesting new trend. It’s still early, but not everyone is comfortable with returning in-person. Even with these churches following all the CDC guidelines, the attendance at on-campus Sunday services is not bouncing back to the same levels before coronavirus.
Perhaps we have an opportunity to learn from our grocery stores and from the apostle Paul. Perhaps we should adjust our expectation away from simply re-opening on-campus attendance; hoping, that everything will eventually return to normal. Perhaps we should innovatively deliver our entire spectrum of ministry in multiple modes. I believe our grocery store will continue to offer curb-side pick-up as an option. I believe most churches will continue to offer the Sunday worship service online too.
But what other aspects of ministry have been on hold this whole time? Perhaps it’s time to use new delivery methods for these too. For example, many churches are very intentional about welcoming new people who attend on-campus Sunday services. So how can we use technology to welcome online guests to our church? Many churches offer on-campus classes for new guests to learn about getting connected at the church – some names for these classes are Starting Point, Discovering the Church, New-Comers or Membership class. How can we offer online visitors these same options using technology? Many Children’s Ministries have a new family registration and follow-up process. How can we use technology to provide a similar experience for new families who watch our Sunday Children’s service online? What about helping new people connect with a small group online?
Perhaps this is an opportunity to innovatively expand new WAYS of delivering the unchanging gospel message to more people. We’re here to help you maximize ministry with FellowshipOne. Contact your Church Success Partner or email us at CSP@FellowshipOne.com to learn more.