Faith Over Fragmentation: How to Move Forward as the Church

With many regulations and recommendations to consider, here are some things to think about to help you plan for re-entry.
6 min read

Remember these 3 words: plan, pivot, repeat.

Faith over fear. Many of us have heard the phrase, seen the logos, and even used it as a battle cry in our personal lives—and certainly our ministries!

As appointed leaders in our churches, we are all able to point back to seasons where we took this posture of trust. Seasons where we stepped into believing God for the work He was doing in our ministries and surrendering our hearts (and activities) to Him.

And that is still the cry of our hearts … with one slight word change:

Faith over fragmentation.

Fragmentation is defined as the process of breaking or being broken into small or separate parts.

For our team at David C Cook, that began March 16 of this year—the day we had an orderly shutdown of our building and began working from home. And while it has most certainly been a time of feeling fragmented, my hands down favorite part of all this has been to see how churches began problem solving. 

So, while we may feel fragmented in our day-to-day, and although we recognize that Zoom fatigue is a real thing, here is what I know to be true as we move through this season of uncertainty:

We are a people of great and unstoppable faith.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him.

1 Timothy 1:12 (NLT)

Carrying on in a Hard Season

We are called to this season and appointed time to do the work of carrying on. While we can allow us ourselves to step briefly into feeling fragmented (and even do some grieving), we are the continuous and unbroken strand.

In fact, as the Church, we are God’s very answer to brokenness. We may not be perfect, but we are still here ready to serve.

As we look to meet the challenge of what “doing church” looks like in the months ahead, let’s examine what building a comprehensive plan may look like for your church.  No matter what re-entry looks like, we know that as the Church we are called to serve our communities, love people, and make disciples. That hasn’t changed.

Woman Writing in her diary
Image Credit: NickyLloyd/Moment/Getty Images

Knowing our goal brings the certainty that we can get after our plan and be prepared to lead with confidence this summer. And then continue leading on into September and beyond.

Here are the 5 areas we will explore together over the next several weeks.

  1. Strategy and Planning
  2. Policies and Procedures
  3. Volunteers and Leaders
  4. Resources and Training
  5. Innovation and Adaptability

In this article we discuss the first 2 topics and begin creating a solid framework for re-entry.  

1. Strategy and Planning

Remember these 3 words: plan, pivot, repeat. These will be our ongoing friends for the foreseeable future. If you have not started yet, begin to build a framework that you can use over the next several months with the understanding that it will change.

That much we do know!

With your leadership team, begin to examine the following and plan accordingly:

  • What are the guidelines for your county? Each state—and many counties—have specific timeframes and guidelines for what is recommended and, in many cases, even allowed. Know these and start there.
  • Consider how and where you will meet once restrictions lift in your area for public gatherings. Not everyone is going to be ready to gather again in a building—even staying 6 feet apart.

And this is especially true of parents who may not be ready to have their kids in classrooms—away from them and not wearing a mask. See this article for ongoing and creative ways that your church can meet.  

Meeting in virtual ways is not going away and has already creatively and wisely extended our reach by inviting even more people to come to know Jesus.

  • Think missionally and act strategically. Go back to your mission statement and ask how to fulfill your call in this ongoing season. There may be obstacles but trust me: there is way more opportunity here than we can imagine! We’ll have more on innovative thinking in part 2 and you can check out this article on the 5 Cs of innovation.
  • Also remember that each church will look different, but this isn’t a competition. You know your church and the families you serve. Trust the Spirit is leading you. Here is a great article on how 6 different pastors are thinking about reopening.

2. Policies and Procedures

Business woman holding pens and papers making notes
Image Credit: TravelCouples/Moment/Getty Images

I mentioned the federal and state guidelines already, however, you will adapt and adjust within your church walls for meeting virtually, in-person, and everything in between.

The hard part is anticipating what will come next. Beginning with a reevaluation of our internal policies gives us a starting place to make improvements all the way around.

  • Start with the physical places your church body meets, and from there walk through all aspects of your worship service. Pay attention to and evaluate things like seat spacing, service length, communion, offering, greeting times (at the door and during service), volunteer safety requirements (including hygiene), and sanitation safety. 

As we know, this is going to impact cleaning procedures all throughout the building—especially children’s classrooms. Best practices around cleanliness have an entirely new meaning in today’s climate.

Getting it right here will be essential to building confidence with your attendees. Consider engaging an evaluation team for meeting ongoing health and safety standards as we prepare for higher expectations from people within in our churches—especially parents.

  • Communication will be essential during the re-entry season.

Has anyone else been receiving the safety emails from your favorite airline? Each time I get one I think to myself—I am not even considering flying, and, yet, I am being over communicated to.

In fact, I have confidence that if I do travel, my airline of choice has seriously done their homework and have me covered should I travel.

It’s good information to share, and I believe it’s even more important for us to do the same with the people in our churches. Plan to over communicate. Plan to reassure them of all the safety measures, procedures, and guidelines you have in place before they get to your building and before you are actually open.

Going Forward

Next week we will take a look at the rest of our list including

  1. Volunteers and Leaders
  2. Resources and Training
  3. Innovation and Adaptability

In the meantime, we understand this isn’t an exhaustive list and we know that no one way is the right way. However, together, we can explore and share what we’re learning and the best practices we are putting in place.

While what’s next may bring a sense of apprehensiveness, we can also look forward with anticipation. We really are in this together and have all we need to carry on.

Be on the lookout for our webinar coming soon! We’ll be hearing from 2 ministry leaders on what re-entry could look like and how we can prepare for ministry on the other side of COVID-19. Look for that coming soon!

Here are some other resources you may want to check out!

66 Short Bible Verses Perfect for Kids to Memorize cover

66 Short Bible Verses Perfect for Kids to Memorize

Memorized verses are the rails the Spirit’s instructions run on. How much track have we laid? Download this guide on Short Bible Verses. With 1 verse from every book, kids will learn to hide God’s Word in their hearts!
Free Guide
66 Short Bible Verses Perfect for Kids to Memorize cover

66 Short Bible Verses Perfect for Kids to Memorize

Memorized verses are the rails the Spirit’s instructions run on. How much track have we laid? Download this guide on Short Bible Verses. With 1 verse from every book, kids will learn to hide God’s Word in their hearts!
Free Guide
66 Short Bible Verses Perfect for Kids to Memorize cover

66 Short Bible Verses Perfect for Kids to Memorize

Memorized verses are the rails the Spirit’s instructions run on. How much track have we laid? Download this guide on Short Bible Verses. With 1 verse from every book, kids will learn to hide God’s Word in their hearts!
Free Guide
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  Updated on May 14, 2020

About the Author

  • Your Ministry Spark Team is made of ministry volunteers, leaders, and experts who work with David C Cook. We’re passionate about helping others know, love, and follow Jesus. And, we have a big heart for those who serve the kingdom—that’s you. Together, we can do this!

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