The following is an article I received today from Roberto Bottrel, who is serving European churches by helping them multiply via cell-group ministry. If you remember, this very subject is what we talked about the first Sunday we had to go online. You might want to take a listen again, if you have forgotten.
Anyway, enjoy and get ready to embrace the future.
The Church Has Left the Building
We have had many opportunities to experience new things during this crisis. We all had to adapt to the limitations of the quarantine, thus obliging us to question and change basically everything regarding church life. I loved it. It has been a great time to shake many unquestionable and unchangeable “truths” that, as many found out the hard way, were only traditions, church culture, or ordinary habits.
What really matters and will definitely change the church was one fact: the church had to leave the building. And finally, we all had to actually live what we believed: the church is not a building. And I think most churches realized, in practical terms, that it is all about people. Many communities are more alive now in the quarantine than before. There has been more interaction, with members connecting to each other on a daily basis, living real and practical caring, and serving as a loving community. But, unfortunately, this is not happening with all communities. There is a huge difference according to the existing structures (or church model)
1. The cell churches (outward focused) were quite ready for the crisis and had little difficulties to adapt since almost 100% of the members were in a cell group. Everybody was already under the radar and could be looked after and well taken care of by his own small community. And with the mission at hand, they continue to seize the opportunities to reach out to people and make more disciples.
2. The churches that had a small group structure (inward focused) were also better off, although their problem was that usually, they did not get more than 50% onboard in those groups. So what to do with the other 50%? For many, it was frustrating to see that the failure of enrolling all members was now taking its toll.
3. Now, when you think of churches that were based only on Sunday services and activities promoted by church ministries (youth, worship, couples, etc)… what a challenge they are facing. Where is everybody? How are people handling the crisis? Does anybody need help? How can a centralized structure handle this? And even when the pandemic is over, we might still have to face long term gathering limitations. Life may never return to what once was normal. How are these churches going to handle this?
Well, the other day I heard a senior pastor of a great church calling his members to engage in the new small group environment that was being developed and would be implemented in the following weeks. Therefore, I believe everybody will come to the same conclusion as they did: the church can no longer depend solely on large gatherings and centralized activities. That is definitely not how the early church rocked the world in their days. And, definitely, it will not be how we impact ours. Let’s welcome the small communities of believers with a clear mission of making disciples!
Buckle up. Changes ahead.
For more, go to the Joel Comiskey Group.