I wasn’t expecting to write a followup to my initial post on CoVid-19 and the future of Church, but that is what has been on my mind today. It has been nearly three months since I last touched on the topic.
Over the last couple of weeks, there have been a few new developments in our understanding of CoVid-19.
1. The highest risk for spreading the Corona virus is sustained contact with a group of people in an indoor facility with poor ventilation. (Describing most churches that I have visited over the years.)
2. Herd immunity (other than a vaccine) may be a pipe-dream. It seems that those who have milder response to the virus do not maintain the antibodies needed for immunity. Post updated with link.
3. Type-1 Diabetics, those whose bodies no longer produces insulin (of whom I am one) are 3.5 times as likely to die from the Corona Virus if infected. Being male, obese, and older are also all significant risk factors for me.
As a result of the three items above, I do not intend to step foot back into a church building (for the purposes of gathering) until there is a safe and effective vaccine. I would encourage all readers to do the same regardless of their risk factors.
I think a lot of people will be drawing these same conclusions.
I have also found that I am zoomified out. I hear others saying the same things. I wonder if the initial technological excitement that I wrote about earlier, and the bump in virtual attendance numbers that it generated, is starting to fade. I believe from my initial survey of YouTube sites that it is. Check out the views that your own churches are getting. Are you seeing a trend there as well? I know for myself that I miss congregational singing big time.
So here are some further thoughts that come out of this.
1. Most of us are not going do be doing in person church for quite a while yet.
2. Many will have gotten out of the habit and may not return.
3. Church when it does resume in person is going to have to look different.
4. Certain traditions are going to be going by the wayside. Their will be opportunities to also discard some traditions that should have been discarded long ago, but we should be careful in doing so. People will have gone through a lot of change, personal struggles, financial issues, and grief. We need to be careful not to add to those struggles.
5. Churches need to be very intentional, deliberate, and thoughtful as they move forward. There will be opportunities for ministry that weren’t there before, and ministries that will have to end. To try and replicate the same-old same-old will be a recipe for failure.
6. I think there will be an opportunity for participatory vision: In one-on-one sessions asking church members how God has opened their eyes through this crisis, and what they think that this means for the church.
7. This is going to be a time for tremendous shake-up for the church, and what comes out of it could look very different.
As usual, your thoughts and comments are welcome.