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The Remote Church- Coming Back Stronger
If you asked me 3 months ago if I was attending the remote church service, I would have looked at you strangely. Why would I watch a church service at home when I could hop in my car and be present for the real thing?
Fast forward to now, and we're all living this remote life. Many ministries have fully embraced things like online giving, live streaming, devotionals, and everything in-between. Social media like Facebook and Instagram were once an afterthought...now they're front-and-center as you scroll through your timeline on a Sunday morning. The amount of creativity we're seeing in how pastors are using tech to reach their people is incredible!
Social media like Facebook and Instagram were once an afterthought...now they're front-and-center as you scroll through your timeline on a Sunday morning.
According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes on average 66 days to create a new habit. That is almost the length of time that many of us will have been living in this remote church life. These habits were things that pastors and ministry leaders wanted to do, but could never find the time to actually accomplish. I've talked to church leaders across the world who've been consistently creating new habits and utilizing new tools to reach and serve their people. Some of these habits include:
Daily devotional videos from the pastor
Weekly Zoom meetings to keep all the church leadership in the loop
Sermon podcasts being released like clockwork every Sunday morning
Email newsletters to keep church people notified about what's happening
Text messages being sent to check-in on church members in need
The list goes on and on. Churches are still being the church, even if people can't come to church.
What happens when we come back?
Will we stop live streaming or posting a sermon podcast? Will we end the devotionals and make fewer phone calls? Will we go back to putting social media on the back burner and place all our focus back in the physical realm?
I hope not.
It would be a shame to throw out all the hard work we've put into the remote church. For the first time in decades, many ministries were forced to adapt and use technology to reach their people. We can use so much from our virtual ministries to supplement our physical ministry.
What worked during the quarantine?
Let's be honest, we're not going to have the time to do everything that we have been doing the past few months when we start meeting again. There's just not enough time in the day to continue all of those habits we started. But we should use some of them.
What are the big hits for your ministry during the quarantine? Was it Facebook live? Was it a daily devotional? Was it your email newsletter or text messages that you sent out? Identify those things that worked and continue to do them. Continue to reach your people digitally in the ways that proved to get the most engagement.
Reaching our people digitally is only a small piece of the puzzle. We have to be prepared as leaders to serve and encourage our people quickly. This means setting aside the time and available resources to address people who are struggling with real things. We cannot just go back to things as usual in a time of record unemployment, deep depression, family turmoil, and more. We have to be proactive now in our planning so we can address these issues head-on.
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