At the beginning of the pandemic, church consultant, Thom Rainer said it would be at least Christmas of 2021 before we found anything resembling our old normal. He went on to say that people would not be hugging, shaking-hands or gathering in the same way for years to come. He warned that culture norms would be significantly changed by this event and it would have a tremendous impact on how the church functioned. His words hung heavy on the Zoom call, because no one could imagine the world he was describing. As we enter into 2022, the truth of these words have truly set in.
As Clergy and Lay Leaders, we are COVID-weary and pandemic scarred. The starts, stops and cautious next steps have challenged the very best of leaders. Christian worship habits and patterns have changed. Gone is the Sunday morning 11 a.m. standard. Traditionally, faithful Christians gather when they feel they safely can, and they turn to technology to worship when it is more convenient from their home. People long for closeness and the safety of distance at the same time.
People still long for community, but in different ways than before. The “Great Resignation” has people leaving lucrative careers in search of the simpler life they found during the pandemic. In this major priority shift, it is important that we, as the church, meet the needs of our congregations and those beyond our doors with the hope that can only be found in Christ.
The Faith Explorers, “Spiritual but Not Religious” and marginal Christians are seeking answers to life’s inescapable questions...What is the meaning of life? Is there a God? If so, what is God like? How do I know what is right and what is wrong? How can I have a meaningful life? Why do bad things happen in this world? According to a recent Barna Survey, 54 percent of Americans are open to learning more about Jesus, with 82 percent of those folks saying they would attend a small group or worship service if invited by a friend. Our local congregations have the opportunity to transform the narrative of “church” and effectively engage new people.
On Saturday, Feb. 19, from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., participants of Evangelism Summit 2022 will be focused on “Magnifying Our Witness, Invitation and Welcome.” We will be hearing from pastors from the Central Texas Conference who are engaged in innovative ministry and outreach. Dr. Matt Reynolds will be our Keynote Speaker and will offer very practical evangelism tools and training. We believe this will be a very valuable opportunity and hope you will join us for the event.