The pandemic has caused the church to reexamine the way she serves the community of believers. Many pastors have felt the pain in the weeks that followed an extended period of closure due to reduced attendance, offerings, and gathering times. They have been burdened with trying to figure out the right course to chart in uncertain times.
Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to speak with many colleagues about what the church should do to rebuild amid a pandemic. Some leaders have suggested closing the doors for good and for them to find another profession. I do not think that is God’s plan for the leadership or the local church. God reminds us that he is the Rock, and if we build his church on his Word, we will make it.
Here are four ways to rebuild the church.
1. Pray Not for a Return to Normalcy, but a Return to Being a Christ-Centered Church.
How many times have you heard, “I wish things would return to normal”? It is becoming more apparent that things will not return to “normal” for some time, and maybe that is a good thing. For too long, the church has operated the same way week after week, with little deviation or room for the Holy Spirit to move. The church is broken, and God is calling her back to centering herself again on him.
A time of intentional prayer focuses on what God wants for the church and what He wants for his people. It can be seen as an opportunity not to be lost in the rules and regulations of the local and state governments. While you cannot control what is happening in society, you can control what happens in your soul. Leading your people in intentional prayer times will recenter the church back on Christ and prepare the way for the future.
2. Go Smaller to Grow Back Forward.
Many local churches are running less than half of what they were before the pandemic. Instead of seeing less, see God. What an opportunity to become an Acts-driven church, where the church is not about numbers but about meeting together in small groups to share life. Small groups do not have to be an afterthought in expanding ministry but at the forefront of returning the local church to its biblical mandate and roots.