I don’t know about you, but it has been such a long time since I have been to church that I feel as if I’ve forgotten how to do it. Whilst church may not be exactly back to “normal” right now, here are 3 things you can do during this transitional period, whether your church is starting to meet in-person now or in the near future.
1) Get stuck in
Let’s be real - for most of us, church online has been comfortable and convenient. If you're anything like me, I’m sure you’ve enjoyed watching your church online service in bed with your comfy clothes still on with a cuppa in hand. Whilst this has been bliss and stress-free, for the average church goer I am wary that we have unintentionally started to train our brains to get used to this comfort style of church with minimal involvement and engagement. To say it bluntly, it has never been easier to be a church user and spiritual consumer. Whilst for a time there was less of a demand to serve at our local churches, now is the time when ALL the parts of the body need to start reassembling (Romans 12:3-8). We need to relearn how to play our part and to be spiritual contributors. Remember, we all have gifts God has given us, and that is to edify the church and each other.
Why not start thinking about how you can get involved in your local church service and message someone from your leadership team to inform them of your availability. It may not be the same role you are used to, or even what you want to do, but sometimes serving is simply being available to be called on to fill whatever gap is necessary.
2) Invite, invite, invite
From 29th March we were able to meet in groups of 6 outdoors. From April 12th we will be able to meet in outdoor hospitality venues and for other recreational activities. Now is a great time to hang out in other places outside Zoom and connect with people in person. To my fellow young people - THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR! For those of you who may feel a bit anxious about re-assimilating into social environments, don't worry, that is totally normal too. For some people it's just a bit more difficult to put yourself out there, but I would really encourage you to not isolate yourself (Genesis 2:18) and let fear stop you from establishing and growing new friendships.
With churches being one of the most social hotspots at this time, why not invite one of your socially deprived friends to church or a small group? Most churches will do some kind of after-service hang-out in groups of 6 where new people can meet others in the church community. If that is too daunting, invite your friend to your small group. You can easily hang out in a less formal and more relaxed setting somewhere where your friend can meet your mates from church and get a glimpse of what church community is really like.
3) Pray for your church leaders..
Like you and me, church leaders are not really sure what to expect over the next few months.
Who will still be part of the church and who has fallen through the cracks?
How do we effectively integrate new people we have connected with in the wider church community?
How do we reach the previously connected but now disconnected members?
How do we create and maintain a welcoming and engaging in-person and online church service?
These are a few of the questions that I'm sure have passed through your mind at some point.
Pray for your church leaders that they would:
- Have wisdom to strategically plan for the above questions, and
- Develop a fresh vision and fire to lead their congregations through this season