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Pastor Troy Dobbs at Grace Church Eden Prairie in Minnesota during the lockdown. Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Lessons learned during lockdown can be valuable as churches move forward

As many churches reopen, it’s important to remember lessons learned during the lockdown, said Phil Cooke, a Christian media consultant in Los Angeles.

“Before we leave the worst part of the pandemic behind, it’s worth reflecting a little on some points that may well become continuing conversations in the future,” he said. “Here are four key areas I’d like to see discussed more in the coming year.”

The implications for future evangelism. “I’ve always said that we need to stop thinking about missions just in geographic terms and start thinking in digital terms,” Cooke said. “At this moment, there are 7.8 billion people on the earth and an 85 percent literacy rate. That means nearly 6.5 billion literate humans are connected via online networks, where many people have access to all the knowledge in the world to collaborate with each other.

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“What does that mean for reaching the world with the gospel? This is the moment to rethink world missions.”

Church isn’t “building-centric” anymore. “Naturally, we want to get back, and a worshipping community being together is an important thing –- but it may be time to put our buildings in perspective,” he said. “The early church didn’t need big buildings to change their world, and we don’t either. Build, but balance our building programs with more effective outreaches to today’s culture.”

Online church is here to stay. .”Moving back into your building isn’t the time to let up on your online service,” Cooke said. “Keep creating great online experiences, keep connecting via social media and keep that momentum going.”

It’s time to rethink everything. “Now is the time to rethink everything you do,” he said. “What else do we not know? What else could digital media change? What could be cut back and what could be expanded? When it comes to pure ministry, do we really need everything we’ve been doing for the last number of years?

“People have experienced one of the most dramatic changes in our lifetime. We’ve endured a great challenge and are overcoming it. To go back to the way we’ve always done it would be the greatest travesty of our time. This is the moment for the global church to be reborn.”

Cooke says time will tell if churches took lessons from the lockdown to heart.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice