What lays ahead for Churches in 2020 and beyond?
The last few months have been a difficult time for everyone whilst we are all adjusting to a different way of living. During this period, the degree of care and concern amongst communities has increased along with an increase in the level of prayer for others. Despite the negatives and the difficulties faced during this unprecedented situation, there are still positives we can draw from this.
The Christian community has taken this as a chance to come together not just regionally or nationally, but also globally. Thanks to the development of technologies over the past decade, it is now easier than ever for our Christian communities to stay connected. Two of our client churches had been quick to embrace the new way of doing church.
St Andrews Church
St Andrews does a daily devotional which lots of people are finding helpful and appropriate for these times. They are also providing a weekly YouTube service with a Zoom online coffee meeting afterwards. This has been fantastic opportunity to bring people together who are having to self-isolate, cannot leave the house or are living by themselves.
Greyfriars is also utilising these new technologies and has found that their virtual Sunday Service has had 3-4 times more people participate than usual. It could be said that the introduction of online services is helping to grow our community by making religious resources more accessible. The increased online presence of Christianity is helping to encourage others to find friendships and faith in our community.
There is certainly no underestimating the degree of stress people are under and the future is uncertain so making plans is impossible. As our neighbour said, “My head is tired, I am unsettled”.
All anyone can do is focus on what is left. This is an opportunity to make do with what you have, be thankful for your family, your community and your home.
It may be a little too early to look ahead to the church of the 22nd century, but we are seeing the transition to an electronically connected community where online videos, streaming services and virtual groups are offered. The online community will not replace our physical churches where people go to find such a feeling of connection with other people. Something which the lockdown has created such a hunger for. which cannot be achieved from an online meeting. On the other hand, there may be a whole new way to incorporate what we have learned from online church, in our new future. Some people might really welcome the opportunity of using their ever-so-familiar TV medium to soak up the word of God.
The lockdown has taught some deep lessons. Once we can safely return to Church, our hearts will have opened to what is valuable and worthwhile. This, of course, is the love of families, relationships, a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ.
Who else promises to provide shelter in the storm, to protect you with angels so that will not even dash your foot against a stone? Who else can lead you through deep water and be with you all the way?
God says he will save us from the deadly pestilence; that we do not need to fear the terror of the night; nor the plague that destroys by day. He promises that the deadly pestilence will not come near our tent, (our homes). (Psalm 91). We can only access these truths, and implement them in our lives, by believing them. Where do we learn to believe in them? In the churches.
As the storm will pass, the church will be ready with open arms to embrace and be at the forefront of an exciting new future.