MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — In the early stages of the pandemic few entities were hit like Churches. Some in early 2020 closed their doors to services for a long time. Stuart Kellogg, a local Christian author has a book looking at the “Post Covid Church.” He explains how he defines it.
What is the post covid church?
Guest: When the church doors closed early in 2020 I saw how some churches…i call them ‘turtle churches’…hunkered down, cut back on programs, waited for ‘normal’ to return. Others were so creative…saw the pandemic as an opportunity for the church to reach out..fulfill its mission. I started with a FaceBook Group…then a podcast,…website…YouTube Channel…app….alls focused on the project’s mission: “Helping the church share more of the Good News in the face of hostility, persecution and disinterested.” I talked to about 100 pastors, lay leaders, and leadership experts….curated lots of research….all focused on sharing ideas that work. Also….seeing how hostile the culture is towards Christianity….especially those that hold fast to orthodox…or foundational biblical beliefs. The ideas I’ve put into this book to help the church come out stronger…probably smaller…but stronger…
Anchor: What do you think most churches learned from the pandemic?
Guest: I think the ‘turtle churches’ haven’t learned much. Research early on showed that one out of three folks quit attending services several months after the shutdown. Those that did little…or ever worse…quit doing things…..are finding that there is not ‘normal’ to return to. It’s just not the case
Anchor: How did some churches make the best of a bad situation?
Guest: An example of something simple….phoning. There’s a 10-thousand member mega church in MS I highlight that has all the technical bells an whistles….but what did it do first? Had the staff call every single member….multiple times….Just to stay in touch. That’s old fashioned…..but I can’t tell you how many churches didn’t bother. As one Alabama lay leader told me, “The staff is getting paid, no one is coming to church, what are they doing all day?” The churches that will do well stayed in touch….got what I call hyper-local.
Anchor: How does online worship help/ hurt churches?
Guest: Well…can you imagine if the pandemic hit 40 years ago…and the doors shut? How would the church stay connected? So online was and is very helpful. There was a connection…and the good news is, it’s so cheap and easy to stream. A Facebook Page…an iPhone and you can do something. So many of those turtle churches were content to just do that…..The ones that leaned in did so much more. In the book, I illustrate a small church in Haiti….the poorest country in the hemisphere….that not only steamed, but the pastor put his Bible study online. Instead of having a couple of dozen folks studying….he had more than a thousand. Others creatively tied in the children. Many examples of staying connected online.