8 things I hope the church doesn’t forget after coronavirus

8 things I hope the church doesn’t forget after coronavirus

In a time of crisis, churches have had to respond quickly, adapting to the changing situation. Of course, there are many things that we miss, but I’ve been hugely encouraged to see churches making the most of the opportunity to serve each other in new ways.

The following are just some of the things I’ve noticed going on, in my own church and beyond. I sincerely hope that these things continue ‘once this is all over’, so for each, I’ve included a brief thought on what it might look like once we’re through the covid-19 crisis.

However you’re having to adapt through this difficult period, I pray that your church is thriving!


Virtual Meetings

Overnight, the idea of meeting virtually with each other online has gone from an optional extra to the new normal.

It goes without saying that this type of meeting can’t replace the regular physical meeting for church services (though there are some who would disagree). But right now, when this isn’t a possibility, many churchgoers have been blessed by being able to use these online tools.

But aside from the ability to maintain at least some of our normal church service activities, it’s been great to see how these online events have encouraged participation in a different way.

Like many, I can attest that attendance at our midweek Bible study has gone up since we’ve been meeting virtually. We’ve been joined online by several people that we’d usually only see on Sunday mornings. We’ve also been joined on Sundays by those that haven’t visited us in person for some time.

Similarly, we’ve had the chance to hear from different people, too.

Times of open prayer are a key example of this, with people willing to pray out loud as part of the group — some for the first time. But this also extends to casual chats, getting to know each other and sharing prayer requests. The group nature of the call means that conversations can’t occur concurrently. Instead, each person has the opportunity to share, and everyone else can listen.


What does this look like after coronavirus?

Of course, we will primarily want to go back to meeting physically, but my hope is we’ll continue to be joined by those who have started attending online.

I also hope that we can continue to embrace the times of sharing about each others lives, giving opportunities for each person to speak — and for everyone else to listen!

Many will consider keeping the online format for some meetings — either as the main format, or as a way for people to take part when physical attendance isn’t possible. Great examples of this: allowing parents to attend evening meetings instead of having to miss them because of childcare, enabling shut-ins or those in care homes to be part of the services even though they can’t attend in-person.


Group Text Chats

Soon after we were forced to stop meeting together, someone suggested the idea of a group chat (on Whatsapp) to stay in touch with each other. Whilst for many this isn’t something new, for our church it is! Due to the size of our church, we’re all able to ‘fit’ in one group, but I know of many churches where it’s split into several chats, often correlating with church small groups.

Now I’m generally not one for group chats — I get enough notifications as it is. Yet I can’t deny it brings me joy to see encouragements and prayer updates going back and forth, often from those that I’d usually not hear from in-between Sundays.

Enabling and encouraging communication amongst church attendees has been a massive benefit and I know it has brought people closer together. This mutual sharing of our lives is such a key part of discipleship, as we build each other up and point each other to Christ.


What does this look like after coronavirus?

As we’ll be meeting in person, at church events and casually, the chances are these group chats will get a little bit quieter: but I hope they stay, and are there for encouragements, as well as when people are struggling and need the support of their brothers and sisters.



When having to rely on technology to remain connected, we can imagine that this has the potential to cause further feelings of isolation for those who aren’t online. This is why I’m so encouraged to have seen church teams considering how to include those who are less familiar, or less comfortable with tech.

Our church has sought to make it possible for everyone to take part in the meetings — if not by online conferencing, then by dialing-in on their phones. But it goes further than this: phone calls and texts to check in with people; sharing words of encouragement; offers of practical help for those who are struggling.

I’m not one that longs for a ‘church commune’, yet I’m struck by the similarities between the response to the current situation and the practices of the New Testament believers. Help is offered to those that need it, and often then received by those same people, when they are temporarily unable to help due to quarantine or work pressures. If that isn’t modelling brotherly love then I don’t know what is.


What does this look like after coronavirus?

Hopefully the need to have someone else do your shopping is something that will pass soon. Yet I pray that this attitude of staying in touch with each other’s needs — both practical and Spiritual — is something that is here to stay.


Personal Witness

It may seem odd to highlight evangelism at a time when so many of us are shut indoors, unable to meet with others.

This is born partly out of my personal experience. I’ve made an extra effort in recent weeks to reach out to people I know. This sort of ‘phoning for a catchup’ is not my natural inclination: I’m relatively introverted, hence why I’m quite happy to work full-time from my home office! But I’ve felt convicted to speak with people (whether believers or not) to offer support and… to be honest, just a conversation and a listening ear at a time when people are prone to feelings of loneliness.

I’ve also seen this modelled by others on social media, and have opened up more about my faith on my own Facebook profile, especially over the recent Easter period. I try to tread carefully here as I’ve previously likened the endless sharing of Bible verses with a madman shouting from the rooftops. But, encouraged by some thoughts from a panel of evangelists on reaching out during the covid-19 panic, I’ve offered to do online Bible studies and shared a few Bible verses and Easter-themed resources.

Bringing this back to church practice, surely you have questioned, “How do we evangelise when we can’t reach people?!”.

The simple answer is this — whilst as a church you may be struggling to reach people directly, the people that make up your church are still connecting with others every day. Whether they are working, furloughed, tech-savvy or not, the chances are they are at least talking to someone. We may not be able to hold an open-air service or a quiz night, but we absolutely can encourage our people to be witnessing to their families, friends, neighbours and colleagues. And we can equip them to have Christ-centered conversations, listening to the worries and concerns of others and praying that they would experience God’s love for themselves.


What does this look like after coronavirus?

Even more witnessing! My prayer is that by re-focusing on relational evangelism, we would see people all the more encouraged to share Christ in-person once we’re released from our homes.


Family Worship

Families have taken advantage of the extra time at home in all sorts of ways. For some, this has been an opportunity to spend time worshipping God together, as part of their Sunday activities.

For those who are furloughed or working from home, the lack of commute can mean a little more time in the day. Whilst it’s easy to use this for a few more minutes in bed (well, maybe not so easy if we’re talking about those with children!), many have been able to put this time to good use, either in their personal devotions, or in times of family Bible reading.


What does this look like after coronavirus?

As life and working patterns return to normal, my hope is that we are all able to maintain these habits. As schedules re-tighten, we may have to consider what to sacrifice, but such devotions are surely worthy of our time and continued efforts.


Accelerated Decision Making

If there’s anything that winds me up, it’s dilly-dallying over decision making. This isn’t to say I’m impulsive — far from it, I’m actually very keen on looking at the details of a situation. But once the details are apparent and the issue is on the table, I’m keen to choose a direction and focus on the details of the implementation.

Often, churches can be the worst culprits when it comes to slow decisions: not least because we have a tradition of getting everyone’s opinion on even the tiniest of subjects (another consultation on the colour of the new carpet, anyone?).

Recently, however, churches have had to move rapidly. We did not have much warning that we’d be taking a decision on whether to cancel services. This meant, for example, that those not acquainted with live-streaming had to find a suitable solution in just a few days. I’d wager that meant there weren’t too many churches having a ballot on whether to use Zoom vs. Google Meet. Hallelujah.

Church leaders had to pick a lane and go with it. Of course, they still sought Godly wisdom and prayed about the issues, but then they acted in faith and made a decision. Did everything go perfectly? Probably not, but the important thing is that by making a fast decision, many online services were able to take place that would otherwise have been cancelled, leaving churchgoers without encouragement at a time of global panic.


What does this look like after coronavirus?

Not every decision can be made so quickly, but many drawn-out discussions can be slimmed down, with a course of action chosen in a much shorter time frame.

Of course, it’s worth remembering that we’re not beholden to the first decision we make. If, over time, it becomes clear that another option is preferable, we’re free to change course!


An Awareness of Life’s Fragility

It’s only too clear at the moment that life is fragile. Good health is a blessing that can be withdrawn without notice. Our current circumstances force us to confront the simple fact: we don’t have control over our lives.

Mercifully, we worship a God who does. We would do well to remember this, preaching it to ourselves and to each other.

We should also be aware that our church structures are fragile (the corporate ones, not the buildings, although they’re often fragile too!). The way we worship together has fundamentally changed in just a few short weeks. In fact, we might reflect that some of our treasured church practices and traditions are not fragile enough, if it has taken a global crisis to shake us out of the same old routines.

We should therefore be using this time to evaluate our ministry. For established churches, this is as close to a blank sheet of paper that we will get. We’ve had to drop practically everything. So we should be thinking carefully about what to pick up again, and what to gently leave on the ground.


What does this look like after coronavirus?

Exactly the same as it does now. Just because the imminent threat brought about by a global pandemic has passed, does not mean that we are suddenly in complete control of our lives and our circumstances. We are to remain focused on God, holding fast to Him and holding everything else in a loose grip.



Whilst we’re reminded of tragic news stories around the world, and personal losses closer to home, there are lots of reasons to be thankful. Hopefully it’s clear that I’m very grateful for some of the wonderful things I’ve mentioned in this post!

Whilst the nation is on lockdown, we’re forced to consider those things which we may have taken for granted until very recently: meeting with people, holidays or trips to the country — even going to church!

And with Easter just a few weeks back, we can especially remember that even in the darkest of times, we are so blessed by our loving Father and the sacrifice of His perfect Son.


What does this look like after coronavirus?

Even more gratitude — especially as we can meet together again with our church, our friends and our families.

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