I read an article online that encouraged congregations to not let the current moment pass by before taking some time to reflect on what we have learned during the last year (or two). Here’s a share-out from meetings/gatherings during January, 2022 at Trinity Lutheran, Nampa:
Worship Altar Guild and Music
- We’ve become adaptable
- Things can be simpler
- Communion adaptations have gone well
- We are now ready to bring back some things
Gospel and Growth
We need repeated, frequent contact with God and our church family; that contact was maintained through online worship and Zoom classes; we pay closer attention to worship when we are here in person, so that makes us appreciate in-person worship even more. We have taken time to get better acquainted with each other and, seeing fewer people around to get things done, we feel a higher level of responsibility to do things. We appreciate how many people it takes to make things happen. The Advent Daily Devotion showed people are increasingly willing to be transparent and vulnerable in the stories they tell.
We have learned that this congregation has great generosity and faithfulness; we have weathered the loss of some core members and have gained new members; this has worked out better than we had anticipated; despite a long period without in-person worship in the sanctuary, giving has continued. Despite everything feeling off-balance initially, members have been resilient and adaptable. Liturgical worship surprisingly lends itself to online participatory worship experience; perhaps changing the liturgical setting several times each year helped prepare worshipers for having a “the same but different” worship experience online. If we pulled the tvprays.org devotions authored by Trinity members, we could gauge ways the church was addressing the pandemic.
Monday Morning Study Group
Don’t take anything for granted. We can learn new things like Zoom and technology can keep us connected from others near and far away. It’s different, but one can created new relationships with people you have never met in person using technology. The importance of working highspeed internet for all households. We’ve become a church without walls and there are benefits to online church for real people. It was important to use hard copy/paper communication with people without internet. Consistently doing in-depth assessment of who is connected and who is in danger of falling through the cracks was crucial. The deep importance of feeling community-but that takes work-and we have been willing to do that work. Being isolated gives us time to be reflective; we’re more capable of enduring isolation than we had imagined. Online giving is great and we hope it continues.
The church of Jesus was not about brick-and-mortar 2000 years ago; being online and outdoors and doing many things differently feels more like being the church of Jesus. We have had to deal with changes, on almost a week-to-week basis, and have become more accepting of change because of this; we have adjusted well, despite our desire to have things be the way they used to be. We have become more open to the perspectives of others. We have a sense of just how long a year can feel. We have named what is hard and learned to celebrate what we have accomplished. We used the strengths we already had such as respect for others, dignity, and creativity. Our concept of what a healthy congregation should look like (full sanctuary; full offering plate) has been altered; we are healthier than preconceived notions indicate.
Please share in the tvprays.org Facebook comments or in the comments below. What have YOU learned or what do you think WE have learned these past two years?