Points To Consider As The NGMLC Community:
Leading A Post Covid Church: A Pastor’s Guide to Ministry Challenges & Opportunities: Church Leadership During & After The Coronavirus Pandemic, is a book I just finished reading, and below are observations, questions and points to keep in mind as we continue through the year.
Two weeks ago I highlighted Ranier’s unpopular response to the lament of, “When will all of the people return to church?” We have talked about the cultural changes in the USA and the fact that Christianity doesn’t have the prominant place in communities as it once did. I believe it is safe to say that the church as a whole is slow in keeping abreast of cultural changes, to our detriment. For the people who identify church as another activity to attend, or who attend church to be accepted culturally, the pandemic has forced the church to acknowledge these cultural changes now as opposed to a later time. Rainer states, “ One of the more tragic reasons a person chooses to not come back to church is because the person is disconnected.” (pg 15-17) Typically this is a person who has not connected with a core group of people, or a small group of some type. In other words, If the person attends worship only, the likelihood of attending post pandemic is much lower.
Now this move of people not returning to church is occuring in the midst of a much larger global trend which is called “the Great Resignation.” The Great Resignation describes what has been happening globally in the job market. Harvard Business School (HBS) & Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) both speak to this trend. SHRM noted, in the USA, monthly resignations have topped 4 million a month for the last 6 months of 2021 compared to just over 2 million people per month for the last 6 months of 2012. The global pandemic has certainly contributed to these changes as some are rethinking their life & work goals; is a heavy workload causing 60+ hours a week beneficial for me and my family? Here too, the church is not immune. While we started looking at people not returning to church, we morphed into The Great Resignation, and now I simply acknowledge that the church as a whole has seen a number of resignations too. Barna Research notes that the number of pastors contemplating leaving full time ministry had increased throughout 2021.
I bring this up because, again, the church as a whole is changing throughout the world, and this is one component which we need to keep in the forefront of our mind as we continue looking forward as NGMLC. The pool of available full time pastors will continue to shrink, and the pool of church communities which are able to pay for a full time pastor continues to shrink as spending plans shift. NGMLC, and all churches in Dane County face an additional unique position compared to other counties in Wisconsin. The housing market in Dane County is the highest in the area, and that is taken into account when developing a pastor’s cash salary package. (pgs 6-11).
While these points can seem like doom and gloom, they do not have to be. I fully understand the grief and lament felt over the loss of what once was. Yet, when we reflect upon our mission, to learn and serve, that has not changed. Instead, it is a matter of how we live out our mission which is changing.
I encourage everyone to contemplate these points and I will continue to bring forward considerations and topics to discuss while highlighting areas which we can not ignore.
Serving Christ With YOU!
Links to articles which I referred to: