There appears to be a recurring refrain among church leaders -- across all denominations -- in life post-COVID: our numbers are down, so our revenue is down and we need to re-think how we do ministry.
In my work with Christian non-profits -- including churches -- I detect a lot of pain around the notion of re-imagining a church's focus. Vision statements and mission statements have gone unchanged for a decade or more. Meanwhile, the church's demographics has changed and neighborhoods have become much more multicultural and gentrified.
Something both sad, yet expected, is happening. Budget, rather than a spirit-led vision, is determining churches' programs and staffing. With giving being considerably reduced, church boards have eliminated staff positions and cut back on mission budgets. Church boards are retrenching rather than re-imagining.
Some churches are taking a 'corporate', business-like approach rather than a spirit-led, prayerful approach. I just returned (last night) from a meeting with a church's leadership team where they sought advice on how to 'sell' the notion of hiring an executive pastor to grow their ministry during a time of fiscal restraint. They felt crippled by the financial crunch.
At the conclusion of that meeting, they decided to initiate a week of prayer for the congregation where they could refocus their vision and ministry goals that seemed to be 'rudely disrupted' by COVID. They agreed to a full day Saturday workshop for church leaders, both ordained and unordained, where they would re-capture that vision.
Some churches seem to be crippled by a wide range of outside forces ... such as budgetary constraints, denominational issues, and a drastic reduction in church attendance.
It's time to recapture that vision and to remind ourselves that this is God's Church. Instead of looking down into our wallets, we need to look up to the cross.