Some places around the world are starting to open up. Hopefully it won’t be too long before pastoral life returns to normal. But what will that normal look like?
I asked several pastor friends to answer three questions about re-opening, what they’ve learned, etc. Here is the first one:
- The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way pastors minister in some significant ways. Is there something you have started doing, or something you have started doing differently, that you plan to continue when things get back to normal?
One pastor shared this:
We started a weekly “Pastors Chat” where two of us do a 10 minute video just talking about what is happening at church. We also try to include a little bit of our lives in the conversation so people can connect with us better. We have been asked by multiple people to continue this mid-week video even after the crises ends.
Maybe the obvious answer for many congregations, including us, is that we finally got our worship service online. We’ve had great response from shut-ins asking that this continue. For that matter, others are excited that they will be able to stay connected with the church even when they are out of the area or sick. I already hoped to have this option for guests so that they can know what to expect before setting foot on our church property.
Another pastor wrote:
The pandemic has caused me to be more mindful of checking in on all our people more regularly than before. That feels like something I should have been better at before the crisis, but certainly ought to continue beyond.
A third pastor shared these thoughts:
I started several Zoom meetings, but the one, in particular, I am going to stay in is the Wednesday night Bible Study. Even when we return, while we are in the room together, I am going to have my laptop and log onto Zoom, so those unable to attend physically will be able to join. I also started Facebook live with my wife, and we will continue to do Bible studies each week. We started YouTube live-streaming on Sunday and will continue with that. We have simplified our ministry of which, I am pushing toward keeping it simple and take out the need for being out each night. We are looking at doing Zoom meetings with the Elders and deacons more frequently.
Finally, a fourth pastor answered this way:
Recording my sermons on You Tube has proved very helpful in people sharing it with others, including the unchurched, so that is worth looking into. I think zoom small group meetings could prove helpful is for some reason we couldn’t meet in person, like because of weather.
It seems pretty clear that the technology adopted during this time has some significant uses going forward. Whereas broadcasting live used to be quite an effort, options exist for it to be done much more simply, and as the fourth pastor said above, having services online – whether live or archived on YouTube or the church website – makes it possible for people to point friends to their church.
In addition, it appears that the ability to conduct meetings online will allow church leaders to spend more time at home and less time traveling to meetings. In order to fully participate all committee or board members will need to be technologically savvy enough to use these tools. But anything pastors can do to make their leaders lives a bit easier, considering they are already busy people, is worthwhile.
I also like the idea of allowing people who can’t come to a small group meeting to attend via Zoom or some other service.
On Friday I’ll share the responses of these good men to my second question, which is:
Is there anything you’ve read during this period where things might be a bit slower that has been meaningful to you?
If you’re a pastor, how would you answer these first two questions? Share your answers in the comments section. Thanks for stopping by.