The 2 Largest Groups Who Have Not Returned to In-Person Praise Since COVID
“I really want to see all of our members go back to in-person services. I really miss them. ”
This phrase was from a pastor in North Carolina. We were in a discussion about a church consultation. His comments quickly turned to the often-asked question today: When will our churches get back to normal?
As I have noted on several occasions, if “normal” indicates pre-COVID behavior, we will not return at all. We will, nevertheless , experience a new normal. We need to be ready for it when it comes.
I have notes from recent discussions with over 60 pastors. Some of the conversations were simply by Zoom or phone, others were interactions at Church Answers. While 60 conversations do not constitute a large test, they do provide us a few guidance on reality in churches today.
In this regard, we are hearing concerning the two largest groups who have not returned to in-person service. These groups are usually mentioned consistently when we hear from church leaders.
The pastors with whom We spoke categorized senior grown ups in one of three groups: 65 and up; 70 and up; and 75 and up. The most common group noted was 70 and up.
The reason why for many of these seniors’ hesitancy to return are obvious. These are one of the greatest at-risk groups to get COVID. Secondly, many of them never have received both COVID shots.
Families with Young Children
As a rule, parents in whose children are back in school classes are likely to be comfortable bringing all those children to in-person church gatherings. But if the child is certainly younger than school age group, the hesitancy to return is definitely greater. The entire family usually does not return to church.
This group of non-returnees is typically not as large within number as the senior adults who have not returned. However the combination of these two groups could be a significant number in a given church.
Will They Ever Return?
The good news is that, at some time, the pandemic will ease off significantly. Eventually, the deadly virus will run its course through vaccines plus natural immunity.
The challenging news is the fact that many of these stragglers are not about to return at all. Any discipline, including the discipline of participating in church, develops through behavior. Those who have not returned are out of the habit of participating in church. Many have already decided they can do fine without having attending church.
What can chapel leaders do in the meantime? You can stay in touch with the stragglers. A simple contact go a long way. You can start a new digital Bible study group. Even though it’s not as good as the in-person experience, it can connect these to others. And you can minister to them. Start a prayer ministry or even use your existing prayer ministry to pray for these stragglers. Ask them for prayer demands. Follow up with them.
We will carry on and monitor the post-quarantine chapel carefully. In the meantime, let us know what you are seeing in your church regarding non-returnees. Comment right here and share your knowledge and knowledge with others.
It’s a challenging period.
But it is also a time of great opportunity as God’s Spirit continues to work in our churches.
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