COVID Church Mixed Messages

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Pre-COVID we had a message – church is done at church. We knew we are the church. We knew it wasn’t the building but we still conceptualized as church being done together at the building.

Enter COVID19.

Everyone stays home. Those who are of the persuasion that church happens at the building starting feeling a bit squirrely about their salvation. They needed to be re-assured. Church is not just at the building, we said, church is done right there at home, so don’t feel bad about not showing up at the church building. It was a needed message…but how do you pivot off of it when the time is right?

COVID19 slowdown and re-opening.

That messaging puts things in a bit of a pinch when it comes to gathering again. People reason, if it is okay to stay home, why come at this point in time? I think we will have a fall off of people returning because, after all, we said it was fine to stay home…to not feel bad about it.

If we are going to compel and motivate people that staying at home can still be church but meeting together is in some sense better, then we need a reason as to why that has changed and why meeting together is better than meeting at home.

Why need to understand and communicate *why* people should return to meet together.

While church at home is okay with God in compromising situations or even on a regular basis there are still benefits of meeting with a larger group of Christians than just your family.

  • The encouragement is impossible to get through a screen.
  • Shared purpose with other believers is a benefit of gathering in Jesus’ name.
  • The collective resources of the group can be combined to do great good in the community
  • Together, vision can be cast, shared and executed in a way that is impossible to do from our collective couches.
  • Taking the Lord’s Supper with your church family is meaningful.
  • What would you list?

Many more reasons can be listed but as our position shifts we need to communicate why or else we are going to have a hard time getting people to move back to the paradigm that, while meeting at home in compromising times is acceptable, there are still some beautiful things that happen when we are together that we don’t want to miss.

6 Responses

  1. I think that the “return to normality” is going to happen in fits and starts. I am not sanguine that a vaccine will be universally accepted when it becomes available. There may be new outbreaks, and the optics of a congregation being the focus of spread will be really negative.

    I also worry about a bit of sanctimony coming those that think a wholesale return to corporate worship is waranted. I think we have been given a wonderful diaspora opportunity that we may squander as surely as the Gospel would have been squandered if the early church had just stayed in the Temple porticoes.

    If church mostly happens at church, it will likely not happen much at all. I don’t know exactly where we go from here, but it is supposed to be to the whole world….

    1. I continue to wonder what first century Christians would do. But, then again they mostly met in their homes as there were no church buildings. Is there something to learn here?

    2. And think, also, about the fact that we have congregations receiving multi million dollars to keep up with payroll. Which makes it an interesting situation: Separation of church and state just went out the window…

  2. The reason church is done at church is because we spend so much money on payroll and real estate that we seemingly cannot afford to “do church” anywhere else. After all, no “church,” no collection…

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