I have recommended Rev. Mike Ramsdell’s weekly email “Endnotes” in several of my blog posts over the past several months. And I’m writing today to do so once again. His recent article “Ten Mistakes to Avoid in the COVID-19 Season” is brilliantly succinct and to the point and one I highly recommend to your reading. Mike serves the Lord and the Central Texas Conference as the Executive Director of the Lamar Smith Center for Evangelism, Missions and Church Growth. He has been a key part of our Cabinet team as we examine the future of the church and the Central Texas Conference moving through and beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic. With his permission, I share the 10 mistakes Mike writes that churches should avoid in the hopes that it will further stir pastors and lay leadership to a deeper level of thinking, praying and leading as we move into a new future. - Bishop Mike Lowry
Ten Mistakes to Avoid in the COVID-19 Season
- Thinking that we will get our old church back after COVID and not realizing that the old church is already gone. It’s the new church being created now that will change the world. There is no “new normal” either, just the new church God and those who partner with God will build.
- Forgetting that the church is still about relationships. How do we strengthen and build relationships in a different season of communication and self-isolation? Being certain who is on the team is an important step in building a new Book of Acts tomorrow.
- Forgetting that making disciples of Jesus Christ is still the number one purpose of the church.
- A failure to look for the miracle, where God is working in new ways, and what new future is unfolding for churches and church leaders that prayer, hard work and a new vision will birth.
- Missing that the focus today is not really a battle with a virus, but a spiritual battle for the souls and lives of the people in our church, community and world.
- Making the mistake that maintaining existing groups is enough and ignoring the opportunity of creating new groups that will be the foundation of a New Church Start.
- A failure to manage the finances in such a way that there are no reserves left to kick off a new journey for your church when in-person worship and activities begin again. It will be a long time before giving is at the pre-COVID-19 level. We can’t start a new church without resources of leadership, spiritual resources, a compelling vision and money. Realign resources sooner not later.
- Ignoring new people; reaching new people, connecting with new people, assimilating new people during the COVID-19 season is paramount. Do you give online invitations, opportunities to unite with your church and its vision, a place for new people to connect, encourage your members to invite others to worship online with them, speak to guests in digital communication?
- Failing to look for the opportunities that did not exist before COVID, opportunities that will probably only exist for a short time. “Maintaining only” is a serious mistake. There will be many churches in your community who will not make that mistake.
- Thinking that cutting the budget is the answer when it’s re-imagining the church around a compelling vision and Biblical mandates. We may need a certain amount of income to do what we used to do, but a reimagined vision will have a whole different set of parameters. Remember, a vision includes concrete steps everyone can connect and partner with. “Here is what we are going to be and do together”.
Rev. Mike Ramsdell
Executive Director of the Lamar Smith Center for Evangelism, Missions, & Church Growth