The Changing Church Scene
Posted on May 22, 2020 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
COVID-19 is going to change the way many people go to church. So says a trusted research company with their initial research. They suspect that church attendance will drop 25-35%.
Going to church on-line is getting more comfortable as each week passes. Here are some possible reasons:
- Because the pandemic has forced us into isolation, people who did not know how to use social media are learning it to keep in touch with family and friends. The more comfortable they become, the more they will use it.
- People like the variety and quality of music possible by larger, more established churches. This could be music of any genre, that is not the issue. The issue is the quality. Better choirs, soloists, instrumentalists, worship teams, etc.
- People whose home church has not been able to podcast or stream their services have opened the door for their congregants to discover more capable preachers, teachers and communicators. These pastors of large churches can spend a good part of their week preparing messages while pastors of smaller churches need to be involved in many more of the church’s functions.
- Parents with small children do not have to rush to get them ready for a schedule. Also, if one of the kids is sick, that child will not infect others in the nursery. For teens who are involved in Sunday sports, it eliminates that conflict.
- If the weather is the least bit unpleasant, no problem!
- We already do this for shut-ins. This just extends the “service” to all ages.
Please do not assume that I am promoting this. I actually do not like it at all. But as in every other area of life, we are going to have to adjust to a new normal. If you and your church are not planning for it, you are the losers. I am from the old school; I believe in going to church on the Lord’s Day. I also do not like youth sports scheduling games for their athletes that conflict with church. I also am a hypocrite. I love to watch sports on TV on a Sunday and Christians who play in those games more than likely cannot go to church. And I stay home from church to watch the Super Bowl.
What will we do for Christian fellowship? What will meet the needs of children’s church and youth group? What about Sunday School classes? How will this affect our missionary efforts in keeping in touch with them and in raising their support? How will those who are prepared and awaiting to be sent overseas ever get to churches to raise support?
Given the new normal, do we need more or fewer church staff and “pastors?” How will “congregational singing” be handled with people singing to themselves at home? Will there be church choirs and worship teams?
Will we even need church buildings (as we now know them) in the future? Look at how many people no longer drive to an office; they work from home. Large corporations are actually selling property as they begin to work at home and practice office-sharing. Look at how much education is done on-line. You can earn a degree and never attend a class in a building. Retail stores are selling their properties because of on-line shopping. The list could go on.
People and organizations who resist change are simply foolish. The only thing you can count on is change. Change or die as an organization or refuse to change as an individual and become irrelevant.
Probably as much as 40 years ago, this song was relevant when it was written. How much more so now? And can you imagine in another 40 years?
Praise the Lord! He Never Changes
Life is moving faster than it ever has before.
What tomorrow brings us, isn’t certain anymore
So many paths from which to choose,
Don’t know which way to run
But every road leads nowhere, except for one:
Praise the Lord, He never changes.
I talk to Him, He’s always there.,
He comforts me on every level
Takes the burden that I bear.
Praise the Lord, He never changes,
He’s never any other way.
And He’ll be the same tomorrow
As He was and is today.
Or remember this verse: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:9)
I recently used the following verse about our manner of spreading the Word through our lives, but it is appropriate here also: “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” Paul in I Cor. 9:22. Churches need to adapt also so that by some means they can reach some. Change.
All entities change. It’s inevitable. They begin, grow, peak, decline, die. The timeline may be different, but the result is not. The secret to success is to begin to innovate just before hitting your peak, so that as the “old” begins to “die”, the “new” is getting to its peak.
As long as the Christian church gives as much worth to tradition as it does to mission, it will find itself in decline.
I’m not asking you to like this, I’m asking you to think about it to see if there is another alternative. (Some of you will say that Jesus return is an alternative, and to that I could not agree more heartily. But we’ve already been waiting 2000 years!)
Written By Neil Fichthorn: Rev. Neil Fichthorn is a seasoned conference and camping servant having served at Gull Lake Bible Conference, Sandy Cove Ministries as President, and an interim Executive Director at Pinebrook Bible Conference. He also served in church music for decades as a choir director and arranger. He has been Bill Welte’s mentor and friend for over 45 years.
Think About This: “God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.” -C.S. Lewis
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 [c]Because narrow is the gate and [d]difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. –Matthew 7:13-14
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.