Our church keeps a lost and found box in the church office. Folks leave behind Bibles, umbrellas, sunglasses, coffee mugs, and all sorts of things. Probably, you have a lost and found box, too. I’ve been thinking that in 2020 our churches lost some things and found some things.
Twelve weeks of in-person worship services. Our church had to cancel in-person worship for 12 weeks in March, April, and May. Who imagined that in January 2020?
Vacation Bible School. We always have VBS! Not this year. The pandemic forced us to cancel it. A few churches in our area offered virtual VBS.
Youth and Children’s Camps. It is hard to imagine a summer program without camps, but we had to cancel them this year. A few camps and churches tried to have camp, but that led to viral outbreaks, at least in our area. Those outbreaks drew LOTS of media attention.
Passing the offering plate. I never thought we would stop passing the offering plates, but we did this year. Now we have offering boxes at the exits, and our giving is up. Who would have thought?
Greeting time during the worship service. No more shaking hands and hugging necks during the pandemic. I doubt we’ll go back to this.
Passing the Lord’s Supper trays. Now, we take the Lord’s Supper, using the little plastic kits. They’re kind of hard to open, but using them saves a lot of time. Passing the trays took a lot of time. Our senior pastor says we will not resume passing the trays.
Hospital visiting. Before the pandemic, our staff spent a lot of time on hospital visiting. Soon after the pandemic hit, the hospitals here refused to allow pastors to visit in person. I have not made a hospital visit since March.
In-person state convention meeting. Our state convention canceled its in-person meeting and hosted a virtual meeting.
In-person SBC meeting. The SBC had not canceled an annual meeting since World War II, but it did this year. It’s amazing, but the sky did not fall.
In-person associational meeting. Our association canceled its in-person meeting, and lots of other meetings, also.
Online worship. In the middle of March, our governor “requested” (We’re in Texas, ya’ll.) that we discontinue in-person worship. So, in just a few days we had to learn how to webcast a service on the internet. We do not have sufficient internet speed on our church campus to do live streaming of a service, so we videotaped services. Our church staff learned a lot on the fly. Experts are saying that online worship is here to stay, and I’m glad that we have learned to do it, and even embraced it.
Outreach through social media. Before the pandemic, our church sent out lots of direct mail to publicize church events. During the pandemic, we learned that we can reach more people for less money by using social media, especially Facebook.
Bible teaching using ZOOM. Before the pandemic, I had never heard of ZOOM, but I learned how to teach Bible lessons via ZOOM. I even taught my seminary classes on ZOOM. Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks?
Pastoral care via ZOOM, Facetime, and phone calls. Because we could not visit in person, we learned to use social media and cell phones to do pastoral care. I don’t believe this is as effective as meeting in person, but it’s better than nothing.
Appreciation for corporate worship. For twelve weeks my wife and I watched our church’s online worship on Facebook or YouTube. We appreciated the opportunity to worship online, but we really missed worshiping in person with the congregation. I did not realize how much I would miss in-person worship until we could not.
Well, what have you lost and found during 2020?