We all know at this point that Covid-19 isn’t a summer sniffle and it doesn’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon. As we all face the reality of the impacts it’s had on our society, we wanted to take a moment to look at the 7 ways it has specifically changed technology recently, and how this season has changed the church as we know it.
1. Online Gatherings and Church Services Are Necessary
Once upon a time, churches with live or recorded sermons were the bigger churches with additional resources to spare. Those days, where the option to stream online was a luxury, are now behind us. Many churches are realizing that online ministry might be a good thing, as well as necessary. As hard as it may have been to get everything online, many churches are noticing positives. Some are even seeing outside interest in their churches. One cause is simply that messages can get out to a larger audience. Plus, members are able to share easily too!
Like it or not, we’re all being dragged right into the next wave of technology as it changes the church, and there’s no going back. It’s no longer either in-person or online Sundays. Now it’s both or risk missing out on an opportunity to spread the gospel in bigger ways.
2. Connection Can Happen in Many Ways
For so long we’ve used Sunday as our connection hub and it seemed right, it seemed like enough. All of a sudden, thanks to Covid-19, it is no longer an option. With the inability to meet, we’ve all jumped into action to continue that feeling of community. Thankfully, because of technology, we’ve all been able to figure out new and innovative ways to keep in touch, despite social distancing.
- Video calling software allows us to see and hear each other any time or place
- Live streaming sermons allow us to stay tuned in to our church sermons
- Online game options are even helping us keeping the fun alive
- Social media is connecting us with #s and group chats
If nothing else, we know now that we have a lot of options on how to connect to the people we want to connect with. We’re learning to be more creative and engaged with one another than before. Now we don’t take connecting with others for granted, and that’s a blessing in itself.
3. The Church is More Than A Service
We now know services can come and go, but the church is still the church. As the economy is shaken and some service industries have become luxury options or non-essential, we’ve learned the people of the church won’t let church fall by the waist side. No, church members are remaining engaged! We’re all looking forward to those live-streamed services, zoom calls with our pastors or bible study groups. The church is rising up in a new and important way that we can’t ignore. We now know the church was tested and the people have deemed it necessary! Technology has allowed us to go to new lengths to provide a service and to be more than a service. Amen!
4. “Online” Will Find Its Way Into Every Ministry
In the months leading up to reopening we’ve all scrambled to get as much normalcy and engagement as we can from the technology we have and it’s been amazing to see every element of church popping up online. From bible studies and worship to children’s resources and family networking or games, there’s a variety of ways churches have adapted online and technology is changing the way we “do” church. We believe that out of all of this, there’s a way to reach more people and engage church members and potential church members in creative and new ways. It’s clear now that online engagement now offers ways to spread every type of ministry to everyone, not just those who show up on Sunday mornings.
5. Ministry Teams Are a Necessity
Leadership teams, groups of elders, and teachers also known as pastors have been necessary since Chapter 3 of Genesis. However, teams and expanding leadership seems to be more and more necessary. New jobs are popping up or the need for expanding specific ministry areas may now be necessary. But one thing’s for certain, the pastor’s job will be even more difficult, he must surround himself with a team capable of encouraging and connecting the flock and reaching outside the flock through the use of technology.
6. We Must Prioritize Online Ministry in Our Budgets
As you’ve probably learned, streaming or recording full services takes a bit of time, effort, and some technology knowledge. Maybe you’re finding out that hiring for online ministry is going to be necessary or desirable to keep your ministry online. Maybe there’s someone on your staff or in your leadership who can help. It’s worth a try to find the help you need to prioritize reaching people with the Gospel through your online ministry.
One element of keeping your ministry online you’ll need to consider is paying for streaming. As large files of sermons start to add up, and time and effort into free options don’t seem sustainable you may need to explore paid streaming options. It’s something to consider as you begin to plan out your new online ministry adventures.
7. Move to Create “Engaging” Content
Along with continuing online ministry you may also want to consider starting or continuing online devotions. This and other engaging online content can help to continue to spread the word about your church. Maybe you’ve seen how you can spread the Gospel through blogs, social media content, and additional online group studies or devotionals distributed online. Maybe you’ve seen non-believers come to Christ through online content or sharing your online ministry? If so there’s no better time to reevaluate the content you’re putting out for your members, and for those seeking.
8. Flexibility is the New Metric
We used to count numbers to measure. Now, being adaptable, flexible, and agile is the new metric to watch. We now understand that we must be ready for anything and everything. A good boxer is light on their feet and adapts to the fighting style of their opponent The church, like boxing, is facing an enemy that has more tricks than ever to try to disrupt the church and it’s mission. Are there changes you need to make to your church to make it lighter and more adaptable? Now is the time to prepare your congregation and become happy and healthier church.
9. Think Global
The tools at our disposal have opened new doors and windows to reach beyond our own communities and into the world. This strategic change will carry with it a new challenges that if met, will help your church reach untold numbers through your online ministries. Instead of just thinking only about the impact your church can have on your local community, think about how you can develop resources that can aide the kingdom around the world. What gifts has God given you that you can share with others? What ministries if expanded can aide the Gospel around the world? The tools to do so have never been more readily available.
10. The Church is Strong!
No doubt about it, the church has been hit and hit hard by covid-19. But you know what? It didn’t fall, and as a matter of fact, it might be in better shape now than ever before. Just as James 1:2-4 tell us, this time of trial has brought about a “steadfastness”. God has made the church stronger and more perfect because of it. One of the best things you can learn when you get hit and stay up is just how you can take. The church of God has proven it’s strong enough to prevail. That should encourage us to fight harder and stronger than ever before.
Things Are Changing, So What’s Next?
So there has been a lot of change, and we’re all adjusting, so what now? Thankfully there are a lot of great resources available to help you learn more about next steps for your church. We recommend podcasts such as Replant Bootcamp for weekly topical topics going on within the church community especially related to church plants. We also would love it if you got plugged in here. We’ll continue to work with churches to bring new and interesting technology advances and website help to you as you lean more heavily on your website to be the new handshake with new church guests or visitors. You can sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on new ideas, new things happening with how Corona is affecting the church, and special discounts and offers. Sign up under the “Keep In Touch” section of the home page, here. Other ways to get started include mapping out your plan, we’d be happy to chat with you even if you just want to bounce some ideas off of us. That’s what we’re here for, just contact us here to set up some time.
As always, we’re here for you, let us know how we can help.