I’ve been reading articles about what life will be like after the pandemic. Lots of folks long for things to “return to normal,” but many commentators express doubt that things ever will be the same. For example, all the buffet restaurants in our area have closed, and most will never reopen. The Chinese buffet in our town has closed, and our granddaughter is really sad about that. Lots of employees have been working from home since March. For some companies that has gone so well, that the companies plan to downsize their office space or eliminate it altogether. This is expected to cause a major change in the commercial real estate market.
Some things will never be the same at our church. Before the pandemic, we offered a Sunday evening service. I was preaching a series of sermons on What Baptists Believe. We have not had a Sunday evening service since March 8th. Our senior pastor told me the other day that we’ll discontinue the Sunday evening services and just offer a few special events on Sunday evening. Since the pandemic, we’ve stopped using our communion plates and trays; instead, we’ve used the little Lord’s Supper kits with the wafer and juice in a plastic packet. The senior pastor likes how quickly we can observe the Lord’s Supper using those, and he plans to continue their use. The same thing is true for passing the offering plates. He told our church administrator to order permanent collection boxes, which we’ll place at the exits to the auditorium. We’ll never pass the offer plates again.
Several times a year, our church would do mailouts to all the households in our zip code. We’ve discovered, during the pandemic, that we can get lots more response from Facebook ads than we did from the mail-outs. The online ads save us lots of money, and they save trees, also. So, no more mailouts.
By necessity, we began offering an online service (video-taped) during the ten weeks that our public worship was shut down. The online services proved quite popular, and we have continued those, even after we resumed public worship. We hope to transition to live streaming our Sunday morning worship when high-speed internet becomes available on our campus.
Now, I realize that some churches had made the changes I mentioned above before the pandemic began; however, the pandemic brought these changes to our church.
What changes has the pandemic wrought in your church? What changes do you predict in the post-pandemic church? Will things ever return to “normal”?