By Thom S. Rainer
There have been volumes written about the church world in a post-pandemic era. There have been webinars and blogs and podcasts and more. Indeed, I am one of those who has joined the chorus of voices sharing my perspectives with local congregations.
I have also been looking below the surface to see what might transpire that might not be readily obvious. These five likely consequences range from the trivial to the important.
- Many churches will always have one digital worship service available for emergencies. It is not unusual for a church to have one or more services a year that are canceled (or should be canceled) due to dangerous weather conditions. Since so many people have embraced streaming services, it will be easy to point them to a pre-recorded service if they can’t meet in person.
- Worship wars will decrease significantly. Church members have been exposed to a wide variety of worship styles during the pandemic. They now have the realization that the world does not come to an end when the style is not exactly their preference. There will be a greater openness to these worship styles in their own congregations.
- More churches will add automated door openers. Thanks to Tim Cool of Smart Church Solutions for making this observation in a podcast on Rainer on Leadership. People now prefer not to touch doors. These automatic openers are now affordable for most churches.
- Fewer churches will have a person handing out bulletins/worship folders. That’s one more point of contact that can be avoided. Typically, there will be a sign that says something like, “Take One for the Worship Service.” Or there will be someone greeting people who points out the worship folders to those entering the worship center.
- The newest financial metric will be percentage of digital and scheduled giving to total giving. There will even be metrics that suggest what a healthy percentage will be. Even now, I am suggesting churches have no less than 60% for the ratio, with a guidance to try to get the digital and scheduled giving to at least 80%. I am aware of a larger established church that moved this ratio from 20% to 70% during the pandemic. I am also aware of a three-year old church with a ratio of 98%.
There will likely be many more consequences of the pandemic we did not expect in our churches. I would love to hear from you about the changes you think will take place.