Like you, I’m tired of talking about that stupid virus. We are all ready to move on with our lives and ministries, but before we do, let’s take stock of some of the sovereign surprises we have seen this spring and summer. What are some of the COVID lemons that church leaders have turned into lemonade? Here are a few I’ve noticed:

Online Tools 

Countless churches began online worship and giving for the first time this spring in response to COVID-19. So many pastors pivoted quickly to preaching to their phones and were surprised to find that not only were their members tuning in, but so were many unchurched people. In an overnight attempt to feed their sheep, they became aware that they were feeding goats too!

To God be the glory for spreading the Gospel net so widely through so many churches on so many platforms. I suspect that more people heard the Good News this past Easter than any other time in history. 

When this pandemic eventually winds down, I hope you will not abandon your new online tools. On the contrary, ramp up your online presence and giving even as you regather your people. The spiritually sick in your community still need a physician, and some of your elderly members will be sheltering in place indefinitely.

Home Groups

I love to hear about families who have been worshipping together at home. Many parents quickly became their children’s primary disciple-makers. What a novel idea! Even after the COVID coast is clear, equip your parents with the tools to keep discipling their kids at home. 

Add fuel to your people’s missional fire by teaching them how to lead a fall neighborhood children’s event or adult Bible study. Families can invite other families into their homes to worship, study, and fellowship together. The possibilities are endless in the wake of this pandemic.

Outdoor Events 

Weather can complicate this idea, but the memories you will make may be worth the effort. Be prepared for the inevitable distractions and complications involved, but there will be more forgiveness in this COVID season than under normal conditions. 

Many churches have successfully hosted outdoor services, VBS, picnics, baptisms and/or lawn services. This window of opportunity is for you to create an outdoor reunion experience, as opposed to only gathering sparsely in sanctuaries.  

Pastors and leaders will not do any of this perfectly, so embrace the messiness of it all and do the best you can. Give yourself some grace up front to make up for some of those who won’t give you any.

It looks like we will need to continue making short term plans based on the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the counsel of your leaders, and the best interest of your overall church. Hang in there and keep turning COVID lemons into lemonade. I would love to hear how your church has done this, so please leave your ideas in the comments section.