Thom S. Rainer on 10 Realities for Churches That Are Regathering

Though we don’t have a precise picture of what churches will look like two years from now, we are at least getting some early indicators as the congregations regather. Positively, there is a genuine excitement as more churches open and as more members return. The potential challenge is dealing with the expectation that your church will look like it did in 2019. It will not.

Here are some early indicators or realities for churches as they regather. Most of them apply in the North American context. These ten are the most pervasive issues we see right now.

1. If a church is to grow, it must come from evangelistic efforts. Transfer growth and growth from cultural Christianity will be a dwindling source for growth. Congregations must be serious about reaching people with the gospel.

2. Churches will have about 20 percent fewer people in attendance one year from now. That is the median point of the trends we are seeing. We will update you if that trend shifts in either direction.

3. Church facilities will be reconfigured. This trend was already underway. It has been exacerbated by the pandemic. We have mentioned on numerous occasions that worship centers will be smaller, but other facility trends are on the horizon as well.

4. A core of members will have a greater commitment to serve through the church. That’s good news, but we don’t yet know how big that core will be. We will keep you posted.

5. Digital giving will increase to about 70 percent of all giving. That number will probably be realized in about a year. Keep in mind, that percentage is a median. Your church could likely be different.

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SOURCE: Church Answers, Thom S. Rainer