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Reimagining Church: Post-Covid Church

Visioning a future church for the now; creating communities centered on Christ, cosmic good, and conscientious living.

Books

2020s Foresight: Three Vital Practices for Thriving in a Decade of Accelerating Change                    Better: Waking Up to Who We Could Be     CHURCH AFTER: Finding transformation in unexpected change by [Mitchell Hall, Anna]     Coronaspection     Crisis and Care     The Deepest Belonging: A Story about Discovering Where God Meets Us Cover Image     The Digital Cathedral full rgb 2.jpg     Neighbor Love through Fearful Days: Finding Purpose and Meaning in a Time of Crisis     The New Possible          Shelter in This Place     The Storied Church: A Strategy for Congregational Renewal          Turning Ourselves Inside Out: Thriving Christian Communities         

Websites & Webinars

Futures Literacy is the ability to use and imagine different "futures" for different purposes and contexts. Futures Literacy stretches the imagination and helps folx identify underlying anticipatory assumptions. Learning this skill develops one's ability to embrace complexity, and take advantage of change, spontaneity and emergence.

Convergence is hosting a series of Futures Literacy Labs in 2022.

Learn more about Futures Literacy here.

Sign up to learn more about Convergence's Futures Literacy Labs here.

Reimagining Our Common Ground for the Collective Good

The church - every church - faces new challenges, imagining what church looks like moving forward from 2020. The Courageous Church Online Summit, dives into leading questions on vision, identity, leadership, and hope, hearing from leading voices and provocative thought leaders on the next best steps for a vital progressive faith movement. 

Convergence offers Strategic Planning for emerging from Covid and How to Use Your Church Campus As a Tool for Neighborhood Revitalization; both on demand.

Church Anew's 3-Session Series with Dr. Deanna Thompson, (The Virtual Body of Christ in a Suffering World) interviewing:

  • Episode 1: Rev. Ingrid Rasmussen - spiritual leadership in the wake of the tragic killings of George Floyd and Daunte Wright
  • Episode 2: Rev. Augustine Muthusami - how COVID-19 has challenged churches and shaped theology, worship, and pastoral practices
  • Episode 3: Dr. Diana Butler Bass - how the church might build community in the times ahead

And see Diana Butler Bass's Religion after Pandemic blog post.

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Nuns & Nones provide an excellent article on emerging from Covid-19 and an interactive resource guide for creating ritual to help us move - individually and collectively - into the future "with little luggage, ready to imagine another world."

Podcasts & Articles

Photos of Mikka McCracken and a person holding paper dolls in a chain

Innovating to Reach More People

How can innovation help congregations reach new and younger people? Lewis Center Director F. Douglas Powe Jr. interviews Mikka McCracken about innovation, building relationships, and creating person-focused ministries so more people know the way of Jesus and discover community, justice, and love.

Person in office working with computers

5 Key Lessons for Managing Congregations in a Virtual Age by John W. Wimberly, Jr.

Turning toward a hybrid future, churches have focused much attention on digital worship. John Wimberly says it’s just as important to consider how to work with staff and volunteers. He names key issues for managing programs and ministries in an era when working from home and digital meetings are likely to remain part of congregational life.

Icons representing steps to resume ministries beyond worship in fruitful ways

5 Steps to Resume Ministries beyond Worship in Fruitful Ways

Lovett Weems says that churches should be deliberate and careful in making plans to resume ministries disrupted by the pandemic. The restart of youth ministry, Christian education, mission, and other programs presents an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of your pre-pandemic approach, consider new options, and innovate in ways that promote fruitful outcomes.

What Now?

Tools for Engaging the Post-Covid Church is a suite of practical resources created for pastors as they navigate the impacts and realities of COVID19. Sign up here.

MPR Interview

Mikka McCracken, executive director for ELCA Innovation, and Rabbi Esther Lederman at United Reform Judaism, will be interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio's Kerri Miller. The discussion will center on how faith communities are changing after the pandemic and how congregations may be adapting to meet the needs of people as they rethink how church/Sunday mornings work.

MPR News with Kerri Millerairs weekdays at 9 a.m.

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Church Anew's Mark Elsdon is confident that We Aren't Broke.

People working together for new ideas

10 Ways to Cultivate a Creative Culture

How can you cultivate a creative spirit that will carry your ministry beyond the pandemic? Phil Cooke describes 10 ways to nurture a culture that embraces new vision and potential.

The Kaleo Center offers this excellent resource on Sevenfold Social Transformation: excellent reading for vision, mission, and identity discernment; outreach and organizing discussions; and community engagement decisions.

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Diana Butler Bass offers an essential shift in perspective and profound ideas in Religion After Pandemic. Please read it!

Rev. Dr. Cameron Trimble frequently considers post-Covid transformations. Her Why Go to Church? is a must-read.

Graphic illustrating steps from mission statement to checklist to open church

Do You Need a Mission Statement for Your Post-Pandemic Transition Plan?

As congregations plan for a future with fewer pandemic-related restrictions, Lovett H. Weems Jr. says they need a standard for assessing various options. Without a clear connection to your primary mission your transition plan could easily be hijacked by those pushing hardest for their point of view or what neighboring churches are doing.

Church graphic on a mask

There’s No Going Back to the Pre-Pandemic Church

Kay Kotan says many churches feel a natural desire to return to the familiar, comfortable patterns of the past. But churches that embrace this time of disruption as a catalyst for lasting change are most likely to be vital in the post-pandemic world.

Split screen with a congregation praying in church on the left and a person praying at home beside a computer and bible

Imagining a Hybrid Future” featuring Rosario Picardo

How can a church develop hybrid ministry that connects both with those in the room and those who will never enter your church building? Rosario Picardo, one of the authors of a new book on ministry in the digital age, discusses how churches can continue to develop online ministry while resuming in-person ministries in the post-pandemic age.

What Will Your Church Look Like Post-COVID-19?

Barry Winders says the COVID-19 crisis is a hinge point for the church. This pivotal time demands mission-focused leaders lest the church slip back into the busyness and nonmissional activities of the pre-COVID-19 past.

Read more now.

Find more Lewis Center for Church Leadership Online Worship & Hybrid Church articles, blog posts, and podcasts here.

Denominational Resources

Resource 1

Thriving Beyond COVID is a Scripture-based study to encourage, inspire, and challenge congregations for the post-COVID journey ahead. This small- and large-group study is available for free download and includes a leader guide, a participant guide and videos.

MennoMedia's Ex. Dir. Amy Gingerich, reflects on discussions with pastors about the post-COVID church:

...None of us brought rose-colored glasses about future church life. We know that COVID has and will continue to bring enormous change to the church and society. You can’t just not worship in person for 12 months or more and then try to push your congregation back to the way things were. That is worshipping a false god.

People have changed. The church has changed.

...I heard... humbleness around the unknown...[and] generative ideas for building new kinds of congregational life. My encouragement for this week for church leaders is to reach out to other church leaders. Share ideas, collaborate on ministries (even worship), invite God to dream with you about the future.