For the foreseeable future, American Christendom will undergo continuous, radical, and historically unique transformation that will put the stamina and will of every clergy- and lay-person to the test.
But, there is a problem: the future is the one thing that history has proven to be not-so-well foreseen by the leadership of the Church.
Today, inside the first few weeks of the American entrance into the Coronavirus Age, is no exception, as church leaders from the highest reaches of a denomination to those in ministry locally have been scrambling to take remedial action that, while well-intentioned, will ultimately fail to secure a viable future for ministry.
What they have focused on is:
- Livestreaming worship services
- Relieving financial obligations
- Training/coaching leaders in keeping alive old practices
Predictably, these are solutions from a previous age touted by experts who affirm the values of that age. But, if the basis for the existence of the Church, which is to gather together in person, has been disrupted, if not outright prohibited, then what do we hope to achieve by trying to produce a facsimile of these practices in the Coronavirus Age?
Those who value in-person worship services will never value livestreams to the same degree. Giving will follow their judgment as well as their wondering as into what exactly they are now giving in light of the fact that such gatherings are finished. Training/coaching only helps if such trainers and coaches embrace, not resist, the consequences of the Coronavirus Age.
This is akin to wanting to go back to where we came from, half-way through the Red Sea.
Instead, if any of us are to make it to the other side of this at all, we must first confront the reality that our Sunday-centric, membership-based, offering-funded ministry model is, for all intents and purposes, done.
We must commit to reaching the other side by activating our eschatological sensibilities which will lead to new missiologies in this new world; we must declare this as the year of the Lord’s favor where we encouraged each other to enter newly prepared and promised lands.
It is likely that none of us feel ready. But, we are a people of faith, who need only a sense of what is to come in order to rely upon our God to lead us into it.
Therefore, PASTORIA – an innovation consultancy with the mission to guide churches, denominations, pastors, and ministries through the Coronavirus Age.
Join us. More soon.
James from PASTORIA
Founder and Chief Guidance Officer