The churches that prevail after this pandemic will be those with the courage and capacity to proactively shift and adapt themselves to a rapidly changing world. Right now we need sober, smart, values-driven, and focused leadership with the courage to ask hard questions. Remember the old adage, “Crisis does not build character, it reveals it.”
We have a critical opportunity to ask the right questions and wrestle with the answers. —@TedVaughn
This pandemic has required the church to shift in ways we couldn’t have seen coming. It’s also revealed seismic shifts already happening that many churches were avoiding or ignoring. In this season, we have a critical opportunity to ask the right questions and wrestle with the answers. Every church is an amalgamation of theological conviction, ministry strategy, and demographic context. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions, and I believe that prevailing churches will do the hard work of asking and answering these five questions with their senior leaders over the coming weeks:
- Who is our church on mission FOR, and who are we mission WITH? Every church is a membership-based organization that primary exists for its non-members. In this new digital reality, churches need to understand BOTH the personality and reality of the church God has already built, as well as the demographic and psychographic reality of those we’re on mission to reach.
- How are digital tools enhancing and improving our ability to grow better followers of Jesus? Long after COVID-19, you will have learned how to connect digitally, how to leverage digital tools for the sake of ministry. Many churches were already far down the road of livestream, online church, online giving, etc. What do you adopt and keep in play? What do you abandon? Why?
- How do we proactively prepare for the next two phases of this pandemic? Make no mistake—we are only in Phase I of COVID-19. Phase II will be when we can gather in groups of 10 or less. Phase III will be when we can gather in groups of 50+ (however, many of your people will NOT be ready to gather). Phase IV will be when the majority of your people are ready to come back—long after you’ve been able to gather.
- What do we change if our budget is reduced by at least 33%? While I certainly hope it is not the case, it isn’t unrealistic to think that many churches will come into the fall season with significant budget reductions. Where (in light of your answers to #1–#3) do you cut if that is your case?
- What needs to shift in our organizational structure so that we maximize and leverage all we’ve learned in this season? My guess is that most of you have a newfound appreciation for your Communications Director. Does your increased focus on digital ministry require changes so that you can sustain this into the future?
Things are changing at an incredible rate. Frankly, this pace of change is our new normal. Put together a tactical set of steps for new ways of working and doing ministry in light of the current reality we’re in. Think strategically, conduct (and re-conduct) scenario planning—Plans B, C, and D—and be willing to adapt quickly. If you ever wondered what VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) looks like for the church—this is it.
How do we proactively prepare for the next two phases of this pandemic? —@TedVaughn
Last thing—don’t try to navigate all of this alone. Use a guide—a trusted partner—someone who can help you navigate VUCA with tools and perspective you don’t have. There has never been a better time to lean in to outside professionals. If you need help, don’t hesitate reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org
*This article was originally published by Ted Vaughn on LinkedIn.