I have been laboring as the Evangelist and Preacher at the Church of Christ in Brookfield, Illinois, for twenty-three years. In that time, I have experienced many changes both personally and congregationally. The Saints at Brookfield are lovely people who, in their way, reflect what we can expect out in the world. The Lord has used the work and the people of Brookfield to shape and mold me. Many victories and setbacks have contributed to the current wisdom I use to write this Blog. I'm prayerful this message is thoughtful and encouraging because I can contribute to thinking about the church's future.
Covid-19 needs to be considered a blessing to the Saints. The disease and its handling exposed our readiness to deal with life's significant events. Many were left unprepared for how to do business under the strict mandates our government required. Some were prepared to continue and served their fellowship reasonably well. We consider it joy when faced with the difficulty Covid-19 presents. I have a concern that we did not consider after Covid-19, and its variants are not the disruptive occurrence they have been.
Change is a constant. Many proclaim not to like change. Fortunately, change has come, and we must face it. I hope that we face it with courage and optimism. Planning is not a wrong endeavor for the church. However, many a congregation and leadership do not forward plan. The reasons for this are manifold, and I will not go down that rabbit hole. If what I'm writing is helpful, let that be enough to stir us on to good works.
Here are a few things I would like to mention that the church and leadership need to be aware of and action plan to confront:
Number one should be pretty self-explanatory. Covid-19 will not be the last disease or public approach to a problem that will affect church assembling and attendance at a corporate event. Leaders need to consider various ways to keep the continuity of their membership during the challenges of a corporate assembly. I want to mention two ideas.
One idea is precisely what many did, which was to live stream their events. Live Streaming allowed people to stay at home, not risking catching the virus. Live Streaming is not going anywhere, so congregations need to figure out the best ways to do it. I strongly advise that the live stream experience needs to be interactive. If members only have to watch the event, they will lose intensity and connection with their faith and church family. Other household needs will compete for their attention in ways that physical attendance eliminates. We must find ways for members to participate in the live stream.
They will need ways to say, Amen. Methods need to be implemented with current live streams to make prayer requests. Our streams should allow members to chat with one another. Of course, giving is vital for members to fulfill their calling—the method of giving needs to allow anyone to contribute if they are inspired. A simple weekly arrangement with your bank doesn't address this matter. An ability to ask questions and answer them is a must to encourage the congregation's spiritual growth. These are just a few things our live Streaming should provide to our members to continue to help them grow in spirit and truth.
Join me in this discussion in "Looking to the Future." What other ideas would you add?
Leave you comments.
Love, Grace, and Blessings,
Barry G. Johnson, Sr.
Barry G. Johnson, Sr.
An Evangelist at the Church of Christ which meets in Brookfield, IL.