Covid changed us all. For over a year, many congregations had to close their doors and reimagine how to be the church. We had to look for God in places we have never looked before. We learned that Jesus was present in zoom meetings, walks in the park, waiting in line for take-out, and even in the homemade creative expressions of the sacraments. We discovered that Facebook was no longer a platform just for aging millennials (yes I’m guilty), but a place where people stayed connected to their faith and their community. We also affirmed our belief that wherever two or more were gathered, both in-person or virtually, God was in our midst.
However, in those moments, something shifted. Here’s the hard truth and great opportunity that is before us… wait for it… Sunday is no longer the only day we have to create these transformative experiences that reach our community. While Sunday is “a” day, it’s no longer “the” day. While most congregations spend hours planning what happens on Sunday morning between 8AM and 12PM, we have no clear strategy for the other 164 hours of the week… until now.
As we move closer to more in-person gatherings, our concerns cannot be limited to returning to “back to normal”. We need to accept that those days are over. The question we must ask ourselves is, “How do we grow the church of the future?” What if I told you that a podcast could reach more people than your sermons? Imagine if an interview with a well-known person in your community could reach people more effectively than your church choir. Imagine if we strategically planned for 365 days and not just 52 weeks.
On June 2, Rev. Jevon Caldwell Gross will be presenting a virtual workshop on “IT’S NOT JUST SUNDAYS”. This is a journey to help you build a hybrid strategy that reaches your community. The workshop will begin by rediscovering what it means to be a church and the key behaviors that will define the future church. This will form the lens we use to consider the practical strategies that are available in hybrid forms of ministry… because the future church is both in-person and online.
Rev. Caldwell-Gross serves as the Teaching and Online Pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. As a pastor, author, and professor, his mission is and has always been to equip churches and congregational leaders for relevant and effective ministry in a rapidly changing society.
Pastors and laity are invited to take part in this important learning for our time. You can register for this Leadership Academy class at https://www.gnjumc.org/leadership-academy. For more information contact, Gina Yeske, Metro Highlands Resource Director via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.