After major crises, leaders encourage us to get back to normal. Sometimes that’s impossible, though. A new reality emerges, and the old “normal” never returns.

What changes have you made in your organization in the last 18 months that are likely here to stay? We are hopeful that we will get past the pandemic, but recent COVID-related shifts in congregational practices may continue to affect the way we operate in our churches.

For instance, after your church returns to in-person worship, you may still have members and visitors who attend worship online for weeks – or even months – out of the year as part of their normal church participation pattern. How will you communicate effectively with your virtual constituents? Online attendees may also have unique expectations for pastoral care. How do we transition from merely streaming our services to building up the body of Christ online? What theological assumptions inform your use of technology – and your ministry to and with an online community?

Thoughtful leaders are asking these and other tough questions about the post-pandemic but ongoing-COVID world that will become our new normal:

  • What feels like a new practice or pattern that will open up your congregation to new possibilities in mission, leadership, worship or ministry?
  • What changes have you made that need to be temporary?
  • What traditional approaches no longer serve the church’s mission as well as they once did?
  • What are the compelling reasons for in-person worship and Christian education?
  • How much, and in what ways, will we continue to invest in technology as a strategy for evangelism and spiritual transformation?

Before the pandemic, churches typically offered an exclusively in-person congregational experience. Today, we are all on the cusp of whatever comes next, which is both exciting and unnerving. What do you imagine for your post-pandemic church and leadership?


Resources

Where is the measuring tape?

By David L. Odom


Before you go…

A friend told me that she returned to in-person Bible study last week. She entered the room and noticed the chairs arranged in a tight circle. The thought of sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with another person made her think twice about going back to Bible study.

Post-pandemic ministry is going to be different in big, important ways. But I suspect our ministries are going to be different in small ways, too. How will we arrange the chairs for our next in-person meeting? Will we do handshakes or fist bumps?

I’m wrestling with these questions just like you are. If you have thoughts about what’s next for the church, I’d love to hear from you at alban@duke.edu. Be sure to check out the resources this week, and remember that your leadership matters.

Thank you for what you do to the glory of God. Peace and blessings!

Prince Rivers

Editor, Alban at Duke Divinity

More on this topic

Preaching is leadership

Preaching gives pastors an inc...

Working in interfaith spaces

In a recent interview pro...

Alban Weekly: Jazz belongs in church

A pastor who is a ...