Your worship services will look a little different these days than what you would have called “normal” only a few short weeks ago. That’s okay. The shape, style and structure of Christian worship services have changed many times through the centuries to address geographic and cultural distinctives. It has always been true of Jesus’s church that she uses every tool at her disposal to gather the saints in worship and to propagate the gospel among the nations.

The church needs to gather for worship regularly. While there is no substitute for face-to-face gathering, it is true that the extensive use of internet and social media presents a unique contextual opportunity for worship services. Reports show that individuals in communities across Texas who had never stepped foot in the church building have been watching worship services online. In addition, drive-thru and drive-in church services have proven popular and successful as of late.

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Meeting Current Needs

Regarding promoting and conducting our weekly worship services, what trends are developing that may help us better understand what God is doing now and how he may be preparing us for the future?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR TEAM-BASED EVALUATION & PLANNING:

  • List out the ways your church has continued worship in this season.
  • Look at the numbers regarding your online worship services:
      • How many people are watching live?
      • On average how many people are sharing the livestream?
      • On average how many comments are being posted on the livestream?
  • What is the receptivity of our church members and community toward online, drive-in or drive-thru worship services today?
      • [Not receptive] 1—2—3—4—5 [Very receptive]
  • Is our online, drive-in or drive-thru worship engaging new people in the community who are not likely to step foot in the building?
      • [No engagement] 1—2—3—4—5 [High engagement]
  • Are our people more likely today to engage with our church’s online and social media platforms than they were before?
      • [No difference] 1—2—3—4—5 [Significant difference]
  • Is the level of excellence increasing in our online delivery?
      • [No increase] 1—2—3—4—5 [Significant increase]
  • How is the morale of key leaders toward our COVID services?
      • [Decreasing morale] 1—2—3—4—5 [Increasing morale]

Review your answers to determine key areas of strength as well as those areas that need additional growth. Your responses may change week to week as you ramp up your regather phases, so it would be wise to revisit these questions often. Be sure to check out some of the resources linked below as well as on the sbtexas.com/covid19 site. In addition, email the SBTC staff who stands ready to assist any church that needs help or encouragement.

Assessing Developing Trends

Are we using every tool at our disposal to gather the saints for worship and the preaching of the Word?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR TEAM-BASED EVALUATION & PLANNING:

  • Are we providing our people weekly opportunities for worship and prayer in a meaningful and biblical way?
  • Are there any segments of our congregation that are currently unable to participate in our worship opportunities (ex: senior adults, young children, people from a low socioeconomic background, etc.)? If so, what can we do right now to give them this opportunity?
  • What mechanisms do we have in place to call for a response to gospel presentations, and to follow-up with those responses?
  • How are we observing the ordinances? Can our church observe the ordinances biblically through this season? If so, how?
  • Are the meetings we have available engaging to the community?
  • List every communication tool your church has available (ex: website, drive-in service, live stream, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, direct email, direct mail, word of mouth).

Planning Future Opportunities

Now that we have assessed our experience and examined the tools at our church’s disposal, what will our weekly worship experiences look like in a post-COVID context?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR TEAM-BASED EVALUATION & PLANNING:

  • What might it look like to blend online worship and engagement with in-person worship and engagement?
  • Will we continue to stream services online after we are able to worship together in close proximity again? If so, what equipment do we need to secure and who will be responsible for the weekly details and organization?
  • If we continue to use online platforms for worship services, what will be the primary goal(s)? If to evangelize, how can we tighten up the presentation, appeal, vehicles of response and follow-up system? If to move online engagers to the in-person gatherings, how can we create easy next-steps and onramps to get them to the church building?
  • If the drive-in or drive-thru church method has been successful, will we use this tool in the future regularly or periodically? If so, when? What benefits do we expect to see?
  • However we plan to blend current trends with established methods in the future, how will we know if our innovations are producing the desired results?

Strategize the Path Forward:

  • Write a short description (1-2 paragraphs) of what the future worship experience will be like.
  • List actionable items that need to be accomplished to get there.
  • Who is responsible for each actionable item?
  • How will you measure effectiveness?
  • Set a specific date for a follow up discussion with your team 3 months from now.

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