COVID-19 has left an indelible mark on congregational life and the practice of ministry. Many pastors and other church leaders wonder if things will get back to “normal,” or if we have entered a new era with long-term implications for church programs—ranging from worship services to caring for children in the church nursery.
No one has been left unaffected. As we move forward, the weight of these experiences will continue to influence church members in different ways. Some will be anxious to return to pre-pandemic church life. Others will be guarded and hesitant, concerned about their safety and the safety of loved ones.
That mix of desire and uncertainty, of hope and fear, is further complicated by new variants of the virus and new information about the pandemic that changes from one week to the next, sometimes in contradictory ways.
In essence, church leaders now face the ...