How Church Will Change Because of COVID-19
Across the country, churches are starting to open up for services again. With this reality, there are all kinds of different tactics and strategies for doing so. Despite this, we are far from the way things were before the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The pandemic has left an impact on our daily lives, including how we worship. Everyone is wondering how church will change because of COVID-19.
I have been closely following what is being written in major church publications like Charisma Leader and Christianity Today. The authors all make excellent points about church in a post-COVID world. Based on what I’ve read and my own observations about what is happening with my local churches, here’s how I believe our worship services will change for the foreseeable future. Some of these changes will be temporary, while others could even be permanent.
More Churches Will Stream Services Online
Before the outbreak of coronavirus, some churches had embraced technology and were streaming their services online. Afterwards, nearly every congregation turned to streaming. Even as we begin to resume in-person services, most churches will continue to utilize digital platforms to reach those who are most vulnerable. This will likely be a long-term solution, perhaps even permanent.
Churches Will Embrace Digital Giving
Digital giving may have kept churches afloat during the COVID-19 crisis by allowing donations to come in even when in-person services were cancelled. Congregations that tried online giving for the first time during the pandemic will probably end up keeping this platform even after the crisis has passed. Of course, this depends on whether the profits outweigh the costs of maintaining a giving platform. For most churches, this will become another tool for increasing donations.
Cleaning Procedures Will Get Stricter
Churches need to modify their regular cleaning routines to adapt to COVID-19. Disinfection measures will become stricter as we work to prevent the spread of the virus. Churches may need to change their cleaning products and switch to ones that have been approved for use against COVID-19. They will also need to disinfect more frequently. For now, it’s safest to clean between each service.
This may not always be the case once we have discovered a vaccine or treatment for the virus. However, this crisis has made us all more aware of the risk of infection. Churches may adopt a stricter cleaning schedule permanently.
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Staffing May Change or Shrink
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has caused much economic damage. People have lost their jobs and some businesses have even closed permanently. As a result, churches will probably receive fewer donations in the coming months. Many have already seen a drop in giving. This will have a negative impact on church finances, and may lead to staff cuts.
On the flip side, COVID-19 may create a need for new staff members. Perhaps some churches will need to hire a digital manager to help stream services and oversee digital giving. Churches may also need to hire more cleaning staff to keep up with stricter disinfection protocols.
Fellowship May Look Different
For now, many churches are continuing online fellowship. We may see a trend to move towards more online interactions. This will be good in many ways. Churches will find it easier to reach members of the community, and people might be more motivated to attend fellowship events from the comfort of home. However, there is something that is lost when we completely eliminate fellowship at the church building. In the future, we will likely see a combination of both in-person and online events.
Congregations May Modify Their Worship
The way we worship will change as a result of COVID-19. Many churches are operating at a reduced capacity. People are maintaining social distance and wearing masks. Some churches have even eliminated singing because of the risk of spreading disease through saliva droplets. These changes will likely be temporary. Congregations across the country miss the fellowship from pre-COVID-19 services. Hopefully, a vaccine or cure will soon make it possible to return to normal worship services.
COVID-19 is a crisis our world will remember for a long time. It will change many aspects of the way we worship. While most of these changes will likely be temporary, we might find church services permanently altered in some ways. Despite the challenges, we can find the positive opportunities in this situation. As the recent survey from Leaders.Church reveals, church leaders remain optimistic about the future and the possibilities it holds.
About the Author:
Dr. Tom McElheny has served as an elder and director of Christian education for three Sarasota, Florida, churches. He holds advanced degrees in business and education, and is CEO of his company, ChurchPlaza.
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