Change or Die
DATE POSTED: 01/28/2021  |     |   Category: Friend to Friend

In his book. The Post Quarantine Church, Thom Rainer makes the bold statement, “Churches that refuse to change will decline or even die.” (p.101) How are you and I as leaders of local churches going to respond to this prediction? Do we stiffen our necks and say no we are not. Do we say we will change with the wind wherever it blows us or do we recognize that change is inevitable?

In May of last year, many leaders felt like once the pandemic was over things would go back to normal. Services would be held without masks, small groups would start meeting as they did before and all of the events and activities that we previously had would be reset.

Almost one year to the day, the world is still in a COVID state. Extreme changes have become the norm instead of the exception. What are we to do?

Thom Rainer offers 7 strategies for coping with the change.

  1. Remind People of their Biblical hope. God gives us hope which in turn multiplies that hope toward others.
  2. Remember, Cultural Change Comes Last – We cannot demand or declare a new and healthy culture into existence. Leaders must model different strategies for addressing the change. They must challenge others leaders within their sphere of influence to model these changes. Those leaders must in turn model and influence those they lead and so on. The trickle-down effect will then yield a changed culture.
  3. Visible Action Steps are Essential – Churches have been slow to change. Susan writes “I have been going to church for so many years I don’t even know how long it’s been. It was what I was supposed to do. Now I sleep in on Sunday, and I may or may not watch the Facebook service. I really like this new schedule, I am really not sure I want to go back to church like I used to. It’s a big hassle.”

In the post-quarantine era, what will compel the Susan’s of the world to return to in-person gatherings? Among other factors, they will need to see a church that is making a difference, a church that is truly touching lives. And they will need to see consistent action directed outward toward the community. (p.95)

  1. Allies Are still Imperative – Develop leaders now that are willing to help with changes that will need to come. Church members must hear from their leaders that God is in control and that the church is moving forward in his strength.
  2. Communication Must Increase Exponentially. – “There is greater uncertainty now about the future of local congregations than I can recall in my lifetime.” (p.97) This communication must come from the pulpit. It must also come from the new norm of social media – including Facebook, YouTube, the church’s website, Pinterest, Tik Tok etc.
  3. Leaders Must Be willing to Accept Membership Loss. Leaders must understand that some people will not return after COVID. For whatever reason, they will not return. While dealing with this issue, church leaders must not become distracted from the overall mission of growing the kingdom and reaching new people for Christ.
  4. Leaders Must Align with the Future – Some programs will need to be scrapped. Staff may need to have new responsibilities. Facilities may need to be repurposed.

In Rainer’s opinion, church’s that are able to make these changes will be better positioned to weather the COVID storm. They will survive sailing into the future pursuing the kingdom of God on earth. On the other side of the coin churches that push for going back to the way it was before will be ineffective and in some cases sink never to return.

For more information on this timely book, come to our Pastor’s Luncheon on February 10 at 11:45. We will be meeting for lunch at the DBA or you can join us via zoom as we finish a review of The Post Quarantine Church.

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