By Thom S. Rainer
We have a continuous feedback loop from church leaders. Through Church Answers, social media, our podcast, and our blog, we read thousands of comments each week. I am encouraged by some of the things I am seeing.
To be clear, I am not making light of the devastating impact of COVID-19 on many lives and on our economy. But in the midst of the challenges, we are hearing some of the ways God is blessing churches. Here are ten of them.
- Two weeks ago, 15 percent of church leaders thought their churches would close as a consequence of the pandemic. Today, that number is down to 3 percent. There is indeed much more hope.
- Giving for 78 percent of churches is either the same in the pandemic as before, or it is only slightly down.
- Church members, for the most part, are enthusiastically adopting digital giving.
- Church leaders are creatively discovering ways to reach and minister to people who are viewing their streaming services.
- Because churches can’t meet in person, most congregations are not having business meetings, avoiding conflicts they’ve had in the past.
- Church members are adopting video conferencing technology with enthusiasm. It will become a key delivery mechanism for churches post COVID-19.
- The primary beneficiary of the video conferencing technology in churches is small groups. Churches are reporting that some small groups are consistently having 100 percent or more attendance. One church reported that their small group attendance includes more guests than any point in their known history.
- Pastors are reporting to us their desire to become better preachers. They are seeing the areas where they can improve as they watch the video stream of their services.
- Churches are becoming much more intentional about finding ways to minister to their community. One pastor told us that the pandemic has been used by God to make him fall more deeply in love with the community his church serves.
- Church leaders are having financial and stewardship conversations they avoided before the pandemic. They are asking tough but good questions about what really matters.
The pandemic is evil. The God we serve is using this time for His good and His glory.