Churches are beginning to make plans for moving back into their buildings – some sooner than others. Some churches are more anxious than others to do so. Many precautions are being identified, planned, and executed to keep everyone safe. These technical steps are very important and must not be overlooked. No one would debate this fact in the least.
When Home Depot was asked recently about their plan for staff and customer safety, they shared a Venn Diagram type of approach with three areas of foci: safety, flexibility, and proactivity. They felt their sweet spot would be at the intersection of those three important priorities. They had a plan. They had identified their three top areas to focus around and provided resourcing and communications around them. Everyone was on the same page and working towards the same outcome.
In the Church Pulse Podcast last week, Barna reported the result of a recent poll indicating 20-33% of churches (likely under 100 in worship attendance) will close this year as a result of the pandemic. How sad! I wonder how many of those churches had identified their sweet spot. I wonder if they had identified their three areas of focus. I wonder if they saw this time as an interruption (just waiting to get back into the building). Or, I wonder if they saw this as the opportunity to reach new people in new ways – a holy disruption!
Let us be sure to do what we technically need to do to be safe. But, let’s not miss this opportunity to also be adaptive. How will the church be different as it gathers again? The culture has changed. The community has changed. The church will need to change, too, if we want to be culturally relevant. We can’t act as though we hit the pause button in March and can simply hit the play button again when we return to our buildings. The world has moved on – with or without the church. One of the top complaints we hear from unchurched people in regards to the church is how irrelevant the church has become. This is our chance to step up. This is our chance to step out. This is our chance to reset. This is our chance to relaunch.
What will your three areas of focus be? What is your sweet spot?