How now shall we church?

While the various threads have touched on the subject, I thought I would open a thread to specifically discuss how the Covid 19 crisis will affect your local church. I realize much is unknown, and predictions are seldom correct, but envisioning the future can sometimes help us plan and cope with change, knowing those plans will need constant revision.
The church I attend has been healthy and growing, with attendance any given Sunday being about 700 in morning services, but a fair amount of debt on a fairly new facility.
Just off the top of my head, I would predict:

  1. A loss in attendance of 10-15%
  2. A loss in funds of 20% or so due to attendance loss and economic downturn
  3. This will require letting go several support and several ministerial staff.
  4. Non-core ministries will be curtailed.
  5. The church schools will be hard pressed to survive due to families being less able to afford private school and some moving to homeschooling.
  6. On a positive note, volunteerism may improve in those who remain.

So, what do you think? These are pretty short term effects, but I wonder if long term there will be an attendance loss in Sunday services as people get used to church on the computer or small home groups.

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I bet many churches will be in a similar boat, though I hope that “doing church” over the computer will remind us how much better it is to meet in person if at all possible. Hopefully we’ll also be reminded that we all have a vital role to play and we all lose something when we become consumers of church. But our options are limited right now.

My church is only about 100 people with an old facility, though I’m sure it will hurt us too. At least we’re saving money on heating oil, which can maybe go to help out other areas. But many churches will probably have to redefine what is and is not “essential” as far as what we spend money on.

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Amen to that! There is no substitute for physical presence.

One of the main congregations I go to the biggest change is that we are currently focused primarily on home churches though it’s mostly the 20-50 year olds who meet up. We have two elders that work with the groups bouncing around. We have two other elders who are focused on those older and works with them. I know that the elderly , including many in their 70s still meet up together.

With my congregation when it comes to someone being an elder, which is a pastor, we follow the guidelines in Timothy and Titus. All the elders at my congregation has also just happened to be business owners and so they all work for free. The entire church is centered around elected volunteers based on majority vote. Same for the deacons.

As far as the congregation goes in our personal lives I don’t know what many are doing because I’m not close to them. As far as in I would say about 2/3rds of them I never see outside of assemblies. The ones I’m close with we still go biking and hiking together and one works with me. There is only about 6 of us that routinely hangs out with one another and we still do that.

On the congregation side o it side of those of us still working and giving more , and meeting up in smaller groups that are 10 and under we are reading on our own and sharing out thoughts though the rest along through email. Not a whole lot has changed other than instead of Sunday everyone gathering it’s like Tuesday night small groups just changed to sundays. I imagine as it gets warmer, depending on how long this lasts, and we move from groups of ten at parks it will be closer to groups or 4-6 at homes. None of us have homes with 6 feet distancing for groups of ten. Few people have larger living rooms but most dont.

I agree with a lot of what people are saying, tithes will probably go down and hopefully attendance won’t go down (I am in the hopes the virus will result in a revival of sorts as people search for answers in these times.) Non essential ministries will also be cut down if not outright slashed in order to save time and money. People will volunteer more at the church and treat it more seriously and take for granted the joy the personal presence in church fellowship. I have been missing my Sunday school class and also today had the sad news to hear that one of our members passed away today due to COVID-19, so its hitting us personally within the Sunday School and church family.

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