One of the things we’ve talked about quite a bit over the past 8 or 9 months is the expectation that a proportion of people will not be returning to our churches after Coronavirus. In the early heady days of online content, it was easy to get carried away with the high viewing figures for Facebook and YouTube. Zoom calls for home groups, coffee time and communion probably gave us a better feel and those were down a bit, probably significantly on normal church attendance. The problem with our Facebook views was that it included people who clicked multiple times, those who just clicked on for a few minutes out of curiosity and of course, plenty of people who were using the extra time afforded by lockdown to have a tour around the churches. Excitement turned to pessimism. I have been arguing that there may well be tough days ahead.
However, alongside that, those of us who have been producing online content have also picked up through interaction with viewers and later feedback that those viewing figures did include additional people joining in and not just people from other churches. Furthermore, some of them will have been people who are neither local to our own churches nor members of other churches elsewhere. You may well be one of those people and you’ve found your way here after watching online content provided by me.
I suspect that the numbers include people who are believers and previously were members of churches but for various reasons have become disconnected from local church life. It will also include people who were not yet believers in Jesus. However, lockdown and the pandemic has maybe prompted them to start asking questions, start seeking again and maybe just maybe they’ve found some answers on a lockdown church broadcast.
As you know, I have a particular concern for urban church planting and I believe that as well as challenges, the lockdown has provided us with opportunities. The local church is not the hope of the world, Christ is but the local church is the place where people meet the hope of the world. What if coronavirus spurred us on to plant new churches where there is no meaningful witness at the moment. I also love to hear about churches being planted in rural and suburban contexts too.
So, as a starting point, I’d love to hear from you if you:
Are currently joining in with online content via YouTube or Facebook but are not part of a local church and would like to be connected in to one? It may be that there isn’t a local, gospel preaching church near to where you are and if so I’d love to start a conversation to see if there might be a few people willing to look at starting something, even if it starts small, maybe with an in person Bible study.
Are members of a church but have to travel in some distance because there is nothing locally. Or. you are part of a church leadership and know that you have members and attendees who travel in to church. This may include people who have primarily been joining with you online.
Are Christians who are interested in supporting church planting by being willing to pray, financially support or even move to join a church plant.
Please feel free to get in touch via the contact page or the comments below.
See today’s Morning prayer where I talk more about this as well as teaching on Ephesians 1:1-2