Two weeks ago I was at Ufungamano House, the building that hosts our church on Sundays. As I walked down the corridors into the gardens, there was an unfamiliar quiet, one that I had never experienced before. A part of me longed for meeting for church again like it used to be, for things to get back to ‘normal’ – to meet friends and fellow church members, sing together, hear the Bible taught together, and have that good Sunday chit chat right after service. But a part of me also realized that church will never be the same again.

Pastors across the world stopped being pastors as they knew it and immediately became online ministers. Churches that didn’t have an online presence went online overnight. Pastors who didn’t believe in live streaming their services got their mobile phones out and joined the rest of the world. Life group leaders like me, who believe that you needed to be physically present in the room for real discipleship to happen, have been drawn into the world of Zoom meetings.

This indeed is the new normal. Pastor Mureithi, who is the senior pastor at Mavuno Church keeps reminding us that this is indeed the new normal and we need next-level kind of wisdom to navigate these unchartered waters. Yes, one day, things will go back to normal and all the masks and social distancing will come to an end, but for the church, it cannot be business as we knew it. Meeting in the church will soon be known as traditional church or analogue church. As Mavuno church, a movement known to turn ordinary people into fearless influencers of society, we cannot continue to think traditionally. The church needs to change in the following ways;

  1. Online church and other services will become the bare minimum

It took COVID 19 for most churches including Mavuno Church to realize that live streaming really works. It only took a Sunday or two after lockdown for churches to adopt online presence. As an associate at Mavuno church, we always wrestled with ways to reach the unchurched, people who particularly did not like mainstream church. People who promised they would never set foot in a church are now spoilt for choice. Literally, Church hopping is by a click of a button. Livestreaming was once a goal, now it is an expected minimum. Churches will have to figure out a system of having all their programs online.

  1. Church staffing will have to be done differently

During this period, many organizations around the world have been forced to align with the times. From reducing staff teams to working remotely, we have seen companies take up new strategies to cope with the current times. This is not about to change soon. At the onset of a pandemic, 100 percent of pastors and their staff became online pastors and administrators. When the lockdown on churches is finally lifted, the demand for online presence will still ever be there. But the challenge will be how to fill this online need when there is a rise in demand for all other church activities. Running online services and presence in the midst of other church programs will be something that will need to be figured out.

  1. keeping it simple will go a long way

Many churches are used to having a myriad of ministries to cater to each and every soul. This might cause a challenge when they try to generate content for everyone. The question that many churches will have to answer is how to keep it as simple as possible while reaching the most number of people in the most efficient way. There is only one way to achieve this, – taking it back to basics – discipleship. The church must focus on discipleship as its entire objective. Every effort should be extended towards discipleship. Any efforts or programs that are not aimed at discipling people should be trimmed.

When all goes back to normal, many churches might be tempted to go back to the familiar i.e. doing things the old way. By doing this, all the hard work and investment in online presence, a new way of discipleship, and taking care of community will be lost, not because church leaders don’t care about it anymore, but because they did not prepare adequately for the post COVID era. This is no time to let the foot off the gas pedal. This is the moment of preparation so that our churches stay relevant to the ever-changing times of the future.



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