If the wise men and women are right, the coronavirus pandemic is not an interruption of the old normal. Instead it is a disruption that will settle into a new normal.
As I think about what is working during this season, I can see a set of things that will boost ministry in the next season.
Can you see them too?
Now, don't get me wrong. I am mourning the loss of many things, as I imagine you are.
But I think a shift in perspective will be good for all of us.
And I like what Alan Kay, the computer scientist, had to say about shifts in perspective: "A change in perspective is worth 80 I.Q. points."
5 things that will boost ministry in the next season:
1. Online groups are not only easy to start, they are easier for certain kinds of people to attend.
Hopefully you've already experienced the ease with which online groups can form. Whether you've simply enabled your existing groups to begin meeting online (with a little education and Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Hangout) or you've actually begun forming new groups online, you surely have seen how easy it really is.
What may not have occurred to you yet, but is important going forward, is how much easier online groups are for certain kinds of people to attend.
Think about it.
Parents of young children. Busy people. People who don't live in your area but love your church. People who travel. People who have only "attended" online and are looking for a few friends. And the list goes on.
Becoming an expert in helping groups meet online will continue to boost ministry in the next season.
See also, How to Take Your Life Group Online
2. Online services offer both an even greater anonymity and awareness of isolation than services in physical auditoriums.
This reality cannot be overemphasized. Anonymity is desirable for people who are investigating faith and church in general. And there is a greater anonymity when attending online.
There is also a greater awareness of isolation when attending online.
Our own awareness of these realities will provide the basis for connecting strategies specifically designed to provide next steps for everyone who attends online (and I would argue, first steps for the friends of those who attend online).
This awareness will boost ministry in the next season.
3. Training and encouragement will be both decentralized and asynchronous.
I have written about this many times as an earmark of 21st century small group ministry.
The days of all training happening on-campus and at the same time are effectively done.
Learning how to train small group leaders and coaches online and providing training on-demand will boost ministry in the next season.
4. Greater awareness of neighbors and opportunities to connect with them will flourish in the new normal.
Have you already begun to see this happening? If not, just begin paying attention to it. Awareness of neighbors and seizing moments to connect with them is happening all around us.
When busy and preoccupied people are forced to shelter-in-place, proximity and natural affinities with neighbors kick in.
Can this be encouraged?
The encouragement of neighboring will boost ministry in the next season.
5. Contentment, hope, and a sense of purpose are very contagious and very attractive.
A virus isn't the only thing that is contagious.
In fact, there are things just as contagious to which there is no immunity.
What if the people in our ministries became so bold about sharing their contentment, hope and sense of purpose that they infected their whole neighborhood?
There are things just as contagious to which there is no immunity. What if the people in our ministries became so bold about sharing their contentment, hope and sense of purpose that they infected their whole neighborhood? Click To Tweet
Think that could boost your ministry in the next season?