In this post we will explore the final five relational shifts a vital post-pandemic church will need to make as outlined in my upcoming book, Being the Church in the Post-Pandemic World, due out in late March. 

  1.  Shift from self-guided to intentional, relational connections
  2.  Shift from building-driven to relationally driven for both in person and virtual ministries
  3. Shift from Sunday perfect to authentic: raw, real, honest, and vulnerable
  4. Shift from top-down to alongside, two-way mentoring and discipling
  5. Shift from insular to culturally competent and curious

Shift 11 – Connectional and Relational

In working with hundreds of mystery worshipers and through my own experiences, seekers and first-time guests are most often left to their own devices to connect into the life of the church if they were to choose to do so.  While many churches have some sort of hospitality practices, they lack intentional means to build relationships and help connect people into the ministries, discipleship pathway, and the life of the congregation. 

Shift 12 – It’s not about the building

You have heard it a million times – the church is the congregation.  The church is not the building.  Yet, the building has become central to our identity.  When we go to church, we typically refer to going to the building.  Much of our budget is spent on building, maintaining, heating, cooling, and remodeling our buildings, fixtures, furnishings, and parking lots.  Vital, effective churches post pandemic churches will use its resources to focus on being relationally driven, first by unchurched and then by those attending, rather than decisions being driven based on the maintenance and/or preservation of the facilities.

Shift 13 – Raw, real, honest, and transparent

In order for the church to reach the most unchurched age groups, we must become vulnerable as a congregation, as a church, and as individuals.  We will not be given the honor or opportunity to interact and build relationships if we put on airs and facades.  Those under age 40 are looking for leaders who are relational, transparent, and willing to be raw, real, and honest.  Not only will they want these attributes to show up in one-on-one relationships, but they are looking for this in sermons, church structure, and leadership. 

Shift 14 – Coming Alongside

At all levels of society, the top-down approach is just no longer very effective nor trusted.  The era of big institutions and complex systems are of the days gone by.  The generations who have recently joined the workforce and will be joining the workforce in the coming years have been educated with a teaming, collaborative approach to learning and decision making.  Decisions made without accountability behind closed doors without transparency are no longer trusted let alone desired.  Instead, people are looking for opportunities where people come alongside others. 

Shift 15 – Culturally Competent

This last shift is somewhat a summary of the other 14 shifts.  If the church would become culturally competent with a high EQ (emotional intelligence), all the other shifts would be intuitive.  When a person or organization leads from a place of on-going growth, curiosity, and value in cultural competence and emotional intelligence, they are far more likely to be effective.  Yet, to do this, we must be more focused on others than ourselves – something the church has struggled to do for quite some time. 

How is your church working towards making these relational shifts to be vital in the post-pandemic world?