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Here’s what the church may look like when pandemic ends

From virtual services to community outreaches, the pandemic has led to major changes for most churches. Media consultant Phil Cooke looks ahead to what the church might look like after the pandemic.

Cooke developed the forecast using interviews with pastors around the country

  • Live-streaming has changed everything and will continue. Certainly, we want to meet physically, but we’ve discovered that we can have small groups made up of people around the world, not just in our neighborhood. We’ve discovered that people can enjoy worship online. And we’ve discovered people will continue to support the church financially – even when they’re not in the building.”

READ: What livestreaming churches can learn from televangelists

  • “Sunday services are about to undergo a shakeup. I’m talking to numerous pastors who have no intention of going back into the building every week. Instead, they’ll connect online at least two Sundays a month, and then physically meet once or twice a month. But those physical meetings will be more like a `boot camp’ where believers get far more serious about seeking God.”
  • “Churches are moving into the communities. Churches across the country are becoming COVID vaccination centers. Some churches (like The Dream Center in Los Angeles) have been a vital link for food, paper supplies and other necessities during the shutdown. Baptist churches across Texas stepped up during the recent freezing temperatures to help deliver food and water. We’re about to shift from `church’ being all about a building, to `church”’ being all about the community.”
  • Churches will never look at the government the same way again. Pastors happily went the extra mile when politicians asked them to shut down for a period, but when it went on for months and months, we knew something was up. Over and over governors, and mayors had no problem with people loitering in shopping malls or packing into casinos, but they kept churches closed. If you don’t think we live in a secular society, then it’s time to think again. Moving forward, we must be more vigilant than ever to protect our right to worship.”

READ: Virtual church worship in an age of a pandemic

  • “We know that the best way to protect that right is to become essential to our communities. Far too many churches have devolved into social gatherings where like-minded people enjoy each other and make no effort beyond the doors. But to make a real impact, we need to become a blazing fire that changes the world. It’s time we re-kindled the New Testament church passion – not just for evangelism and sharing the story of Jesus, but for ministering to every need in a person’s life. People don’t need to be church members for us to help – we just need to step out there and make it happen.”

“The future of the post-COVID church will not be the status quo, and that’s a good thing,” Cooke said. “Which is why it’s the perfect time to show the world what we can become.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice