By Bruce Chesser
President, Tennessee Baptist Convention
Senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Hendersonville
All of us find ourselves now in the unique situation of needing to rebuild what we had going prior to the pandemic. As most of us began the process of regathering in person, we found some things are missing. Most of us have begun with worship gatherings and we will add the Connect Group/Bible Study/Sunday School piece of the puzzle later. Likewise, most will be adding the Wednesday night programming closer to the beginning of the school year.
Let me make a few suggestions.
Take the next couple of months to organize your ministry team and volunteers in a season of discovery and recovery. Discover who has resumed attending your worship services (or whatever else you are currently offering) and make a list of those that were actively involved but who have not yet returned. Make them your target.
Over the next several months organize yourself and your team to weekly reach out to those people with the purpose of ministering to them, encouraging them, and eventually recovering them to the active ranks of your church fellowship. During these months our focus is on people, people, people.
Sometime in the fall we will all realize what our new baseline is from which we will be doing our ministries. At this point it does not matter what we were on March 1, 2020. What will matter is what we are on Sept. 1 or Oct. 1, 2020. That will become our new foundation from which we will go forward. The reality is that our ministry expenditures, mission involvement and support, discipleship efforts, and evangelism/outreach opportunities are all supported by the people who are actively involved in our church. This will be a necessary time to reset ourselves so that there is no wasted energy or resources going forward.
Our goal, at First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, is to recover through the months of June and July and then use the fall months (August – December) to reset ourselves to our new normal. Then on Jan. 1, 2021 we will begin the process of seeking to rebuild. We will plant, we will water and we will pray that God will give the increase (I Corinthians 3:6)!
Let’s do it for God’s glory! B&R