By Kevin Freeman
Is online worship attendance about to decrease? Many Christian ministry leaders think so.
Easter is now over. Online worship will become routine as the newness of the experience wears off. People seem to be tired of online meetings. Those less faithful will tune in less often.
“The grass needed mowing.”
“I needed some extra sleep.”
“My kids were watching an old Veggie Tales video, so we were already having church.”
It seems any excuse will work.
How can your church keep members in close community? Consider these principles to increase community rather than decrease.
1. Making disciples is still our Great Commission call.
As churches determine how best to keep programs going during a mass shelter in place, it’s easy to forget why those programs exist.
The important question for churches is not about programming continuity but rather about Great Commission continuity. How do we keep making disciples?
2. Your small groups and Sunday School classes are still best for discipleship and community.
A Bible study group is where people learn together and share burdens. Encourage your teachers and leaders to hold regular group meetings.
Many of these will be online, while some will have another way to check in with each other.
The Bible should still be taught. The lesson will look different. Shorter and more interactive is a good idea, but deleting it will ultimately harm group health and future attendance.
Group care will likely take center stage right now.
3. The phone is still your most effective connecting tool.
People are tired of online meetings. We should be grateful for the technology to still “meet” together online, but even your group members will find excuses not to sign on.
If teachers call them to check in, pray with them, and remind them about the meeting, online attendance will remain high.
4. Ministry opportunities are still the best way to keep people involved.
Ask any youth pastor. The healthiest youth ministries are those that empower students to do the ministry rather than attending a program that expects nothing of them.
In our new online church reality, people still need tactile ministry opportunities. Finding ways to serve and reach out helps remind your people we are still the hands and feet of Jesus.
5. The Holy Spirit is still at work.
Faith that God is actively moving on hearts motivates us to reach out to make more disciples.
Many are without hope and need the hope of the gospel. It wasn’t enough for David to say he believed God could give him victory over the giant. He had to step out onto the battlefield.
The Church cannot merely express belief that the Holy Spirit is at work. She must step out in faith to reach people for Christ.
KEVIN FREEMAN is the associate pastor for discipleship, youth, and families at Redland Baptist Church of Rockville, Maryland.