By Lee Ann Alexander
Let’s face it. COVID-19 is one of the most brutal seasons our churches have ever faced. You’re likely still coping with issues connected to the pandemic. As we emerge and shape our new normal, what we’ve learned from the crisis can help us prepare for a stronger future.
1. The New Normal: Small Groups
Small groups are essential ministries. Perhaps pre-pandemic, we centered church ministry around the building. It’s tough to acknowledge, but who’s to say the future doesn’t hold more pandemic scenarios? We must find ways to encourage spiritual growth and connecting as the church body that don’t depend on a building. Video technology can offer the possibility of connection, and meeting in small groups can ensure interaction—crucial for growth.
Forward-facing churches will find ways to create small groups that incorporate technology for connection and offer engaging ways to teach interactively with spiritual growth discussions.
2. Ministering to Children
Creativity and innovation are prerequisites for ministering to children. Did we take for granted how much our kids got out of Sunday school spiritually and socially? When our buildings closed suddenly, did our children get neglected spiritually, or did we have adequate systems and tools in place to continue teaching them for long-term spiritual growth? The future should include a two-fold approach to ensure teachers are equipped for ministering beyond the classroom and parents are furnished with resources for discussing faith in the home.
3. Every Church Is Unique
Every church is unique. We should know this fact, but extreme scenarios drive it home. What works in one congregation
Forward-facing churches will find ways to create small groups that incorporate technology for connection.
doesn’t work for another. The dynamics of the community context, the pastor’s vision, and the demographics of church members mean solutions don’t necessarily work the same for three churches in the same area code. We must develop strategies and resources that are scalable and can be adapted to a variety of scenarios.
Resources and Links for Forging a New Normal
Teaching remains essential for spiritual growth and meaningful connections for all ages of the church body. Apostolic curriculum resources can help you move forward with spiritual growth and ministry for the entire church.
Adult Curriculum with Small Group Options
- Mobilize your church for spiritual growth in any context with small group ministry.
- The Discipleship Project features small group leader guides and participant guides both in print and digitally.
- Video-based small group resources can be helpful for engaging participants.
Children’s Curriculum with Creative Family Devotionals
- Ministering to children necessarily means ministering to families. Effective discipleship for our children must include parents having tools to lead devotions in their homes.
- A new quarterly resource offers simply daily devotional prompts for parents to lead their children in a spiritual conversation.
Scalable Options for Teaching
- Rest in the safety of thoroughly Apostolic teaching tools. Customize your approach with materials that can easily be scaled up or down to fit versatile church needs.
Researchers will be studying the pandemic and its effects for decades. No matter your scenario, we know that God is in control and has a plan. Together with prayer, creativity, and reliable resources, churches can go forward in crafting approaches and strategies for ministering in unprecedented circumstances.