3 Questions Church Leaders Should Be Asking

Written by Courtney Wright on May 27, 2021 in Pastoral Helps

Read time: 4 Min

I have spoken to hundreds of Pastors in the past year about the season we are in right now. The pandemic forced Pastors to re-evaluate the Sunday gathering as the primary means of reaching the lost and engaging the found. It was the paradigm shifter for the approach Pastors were taking with the “1” and the “99”.   

Matthew 18:12 (AMP): “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them gets lost, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountain and go in search of the one that is lost?

So, as it seems, we may be nearing the end of the pandemic. How do we transition to the “new world of church”?
Here are 3 questions every church leader and pastor needs to ask:

  1. What have we learned?
  2. What should we change?
  3. What should we keep?

If we were truthful with ourselves, the American Church had gotten complacent and comfortable with church as usual. I remember many conversations with Pastors about the empty pews in their churches. Some were really confused about what was going on. Nothing major had changed at that point. In their churches, There had been no major scandal or no major demographic shift in their city. The people who were coming to church stopped attending, or at least not as often as they had in the past. Bottom-line, church attendance and the number of people identifying as practicing Christians was declining.

The State of the Church 2020 | Barna Study* shows that the number of practicing Christians has declined.

The study reports: “In 2000, 45 percent of all those sampled qualified as practicing Christians. That share has consistently declined over the last 19 years. Now, just one in four Americans (25%) is a practicing Christian. In essence, the share of practicing Christians has nearly dropped in half since 2000.”

*© Barna Group, 2020 - https://www.barna.com/research/changing-state-of-the-church/

1. What have we learned?

  • There has been a redefining of the word “assembling.” Assembling now means the gathering of the church, by any means available, to maintain intimacy/closeness and fellowship - including Online Church.
    Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
  • There are multiple ways to reach the lost, including social media platforms such as FaceBook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, etc.
  • We now realize that all of the “programs” we once thought were indispensable are not truly necessary.
  • The Church is not the building! While we have anecdotally announced this in the past, I’m not sure we really believed it. Every saved person has within them the Holy Spirit, which makes each of them a vital part of the local church. So, even though we could not gather in our respective houses of worship, the Church went on.

The question is, “Were the people of the church, once separated from the church building and gathering, “disciplined enough” to make a difference in their families and spheres of influence?”

2. What should we keep?

  • We should make sure we keep looking for ways to reach more people for Christ. The internet gives the Church a tremendous amount of opportunity to reach the masses with the Gospel. Many Pastors have seen their reach grow online during the pandemic, especially to those who don’t know Christ. Churches should figure out how to harness that reach and turn it into a relationship with those they are reaching. We should not abandon this access God has given us to people who may not be like our regular parishioner base.
  • Another thing many churches have learned is how to focus and condense online services to reach audiences with shorter attention spans. Truncating in-person service times can go far when we return back to church. It may even help you draw the younger generation who tend to have less tolerance for extended church services (more than 90 minutes).
  • Many of our Auxiliary Ministries, for example, Christian education classes, discipleship groups, etc., that were always face-to-face are now online. This could continue, at least in part, for some of those services. The online services could draw a wider audience for these Auxiliary Ministries. 

    3. What should we change?

  • We must truly love one another. For some reason, it seems as though some Christians think their love should be reserved for other Christians only. We certainly don’t love evil or sin. However, we can still love the sinner without loving their sin. It does not matter their religious or political affiliation or their ethnicity or tribe.
  • We must examine how we start churches and consider a more economically structured church model that goes back to the way of Christ and His apostles.
  • We should examine how we “do” church. The westernized model of church that we have practiced in the United States, with its attractional church models, mega-church aspirations, and celebrity preachers, has caused the next generations (Millennials and Gen Z) to say, “I’ll pass.” They are looking for a more highly relational, honest about human frailty and failures, honest about who God is and what He stands for, type of church model. I want to submit to you that we get back to a simpler church model. A model beginning in a small group of people who gather in a home or “third place” may be our answer to a more relational church structure that leads to the type of explosive impact the Apostles saw in the early church.  
  • We should focus on creating strong discipleship pathways that lead parishioners to life-long learning about their faith and what God expects of those who say they are Christians.

The Best is Yet to Come   

The job of a Pastor is complex and challenging. I am in no way saying that Pastors got it wrong. I believe that Pastors got it right for the times we have lived in, in the past. While God did not cause or create the COVID-19 pandemic, He will surely use it for the purposes of furthering His Kingdom, just as He used difficult times throughout the Bible. God is really up to something great in the exposure of new insights and technologies for the Church that have taken place over the past year. I believe Pastors and churches who embrace this opportunity for change will thrive in the new space God has created for us. The best is yet to come!

Whether you need help starting your church or ministry or getting set up online, our team would love to help you! Give us a call at 877-494-4655 to speak to a specialist to learn how we can help you fulfill the calling God has placed on your life.
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Blessings,
Raul Rivera


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