No, I don’t have a crystal ball. No tarot cards either. I don’t even own one of those Magic 8 Balls! But I do believe that we can predict some things that will happen when the members of our churches return after COVID-19 dangers have passed.
Many of our churches won’t be ready for the return of our church members in the future. We may be so ready to get back together again that we don’t address several key issues as we come back to the church building:
- Social distancing isn’t going away soon. Our churches are going to have to adjust to people’s ongoing concerns about being in close proximity to one another. Sunday School, worship, VBS, church camps, and many other ministries are going to be negatively impacted as we spread out to avoid another pandemic.
- It’s time to get larger by getting smaller. If your worship service or Sunday School classrooms have been on the fuller side prior to COVID-19, it will be prudent to consider offering additional worship services or additional Bible study groups so that people can spread out a bit. As a friend has said, “Never waste a good pandemic.” Although we should have been starting new groups and challenging existing ones to start new classes, we haven’t done a great job at this by and large. Too many adult groups in particular have gotten “fat and happy.” Now, because of the current pandemic, people will be more open to considering the benefits of starting new groups and downsizing by sending people from existing groups to seed new ones. People will spread out, feel safer, and they’ll reach new people at the same time.
- Cleanliness is going to be next to godliness. People will come back to your church and expect things to be different with regard to how deeply the church is cleaned between meetings. If your church doesn’t elevate its cleaning strategies, you’ll find yourself behind the curve, unable to catch up to other churches and businesses that ramp up their cleaning programs. If you want a chance to keep current members and attract new ones, several areas must be cleaned well. Beyond well, actually. Those places? The women’s restroom, your church’s nursery, and preschool/kids rooms. Moms are going to want to know their children are safe. A dirty restroom communicates that you may not be paying attention to cleanliness elsewhere. You’ll see a lot of “one and done” guests if your church doesn’t rise to this new challenge.