The Pandemic Shake Up: Church, I’m Begging You to Ask This One Question

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I was going to church at _________ before the pandemic, but haven’t been back...

I’ve been trying to watch it online...

I’m not sure if I feel comfortable going back after the way the church...

Honestly, I feel very disconnected from church...

I really miss the community...

I don’t know where I’ll end up...

I wonder who still goes to my church...

I wonder about the purpose of church...

I think I just need a break...

Do any of these statements strike a chord? 

I resonate with several of them. I don’t think I’m alone. It’s been over two years since the pandemic began. Two whole years.  

Almost overnight, schools, businesses, and communities were impacted. Churches, too. One Sunday we went to church, and the next Sunday...well, we ____________ (watched online, didn’t watch online, quit serving, served to the point of exhaustion, and the list goes on). 

There was a moment, maybe six months into the pandemic, that I experienced a deep feeling of panic about church. I’m not sure what triggered it, but I can name some of the fears that had been building for weeks. My fear of losing community. My fear for the church’s reputation. My fear of my family getting sick. My fear of simply becoming a consumer of church, rather than an important part of the body. 

Some of these fears haven’t gone away. Others have gotten better.

But I wonder, church, do we have an opportunity here? Is it time for us to speak up? 

And by speak up, I actually mean listen. To open our eyes and ears to the many, many brothers and sisters who just aren't sure what comes next.

But in order to listen, perhaps we first need to ask the question: How are things going with church? 

Ask the question. And then listen. 

You may learn there are still barriers that need to be cleared. Please do everything you can to help clear them. Invite them to your church or any other Jesus community you are part of. Leave the door wide open; God's timing is not our timing, nor our His ways our ways. Pray for each other. 

"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." 1 Corinthians 12:27 

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Hi Staci. Thank you for this timely blog post! That's THE question: How are things going with church? 
My question is...how do we ask this question to our congregation? Surveys by email seem to gather maybe 30% return. I'd love to know how you recommend a church do this?
I don't think there's ever been a time that our church has been so fractured. And we truly do need to get our members to respond honestly to the executive about that question.  But how? 
 

 Just some context for you: My church is in a state of flux right now: a double whammy. We're dealing with post-pandemic issues (lower attendance, members who left, hurt feelings over vaccination/masks) and just recently our much loved pastor of 30 years had to step down due to a terminal health issues, so our second pastor of 10 years now has everything abruptly put on his shoulders. It's a lot to bear.  There's no doubt that some in our congregation like the older pastor more and are having a hard time accepting the leadership of our younger pastor. There's tension in church. There's members not wanting to stick around. I feel like we as a church in need of an intervention! I'm just a younger member but my heart is feeling heavy with what I see happening and I want to help my church someway, somehow. 
 

Thank you for any ideas you can provide. God Bless. 

Community Builder

While these questions are important for some, I think we should note, they don't apply everywhere. While it has taken time, been a process, and there were seasons of conflict, some churches have not struggled/are not struggling with this. My congregation was back to 90% attendance within 6 months of the first shut. After Covid started spreading in our geographical community late fall, we had a second shut down, and it took another 3-4 months for us to get back to 90-95% attendance again. Then, as people were able to get vaccinated, things continued to improve, and we are at 98% of our pre-Covid members back (and several new members added).

So, while it wasn't easy, and I know there are many churches that have had a terrible time, I'm guessing there are also many churches in a similar position to our congregation.