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The Secret to Post-Pandemic Success

Everyone has their own definition of what success in ministry is, but I believe by almost any definition 2021 has been a huge success for the church I get to serve.

Our weekend attendance is pushing 2019 numbers and beyond.

We’ve seen more salvations and baptisms so far this year, than we did in all of 2020, and we’re on track to surpass those 2019 numbers as well.

Our giving is up over 20 percent from what was budgeted for this year, and is on track to be a record for our church.

Our staff, elders, and ministry leaders all seem to be getting along and enjoying each other.

It’s truly been one of the best years of ministry I’ve ever had the privilege of being a part of.

Yet, I’ve been hesitant to write or talk about it much because of two reasons.

  1. I realize our story is rare, and most churches are still struggling.

And

  1. I don’t know why we’re seeing all of these good things happen.

I mean it’s obviously a God thing, but that can’t be all that it is…right? 

I remember how annoyed I used to get when I would read in a book or hear a pastor say in a conference, we had no clue what we were doing, yet God brought thousands of people to us.

I always thought that was just their humble way of bragging, and yet here I am practically saying the same thing.

Well, not exactly the same thing, I think we know what we’re doing, or at least should be doing, even if we don’t always follow through with it.

And yet, even when we haven’t followed through with something, or done something well this year, it’s still seemed to work out.

I’ll give you an example. We had a goal of raising $50,000 this year to go towards some facility renovations. We did a poor job of communicating it and casting vision for it, and we ended up only raising around $25,000.

I thought that’s what we deserved for doing such a bad job with it, we’ll just have to end up borrowing the money. Only we never had to borrow any money, because our weekend giving has increased enough to cover it.

Let me give you one more example. Coming out of the pandemic, every church expert agreed that lead pastors should have a digital presence. They need to be more active engaging on social media. 

I agreed with the experts, and encouraged, actually begged my pastor to become more active. Instead, I think he became less active on social media. It just wasn’t something that he wanted to do.

Did it hurt the church? Not that I can tell so far. We’ve had new guests every week and the church has continued to grow.

So, what’s the secret to our success? 

I think God has to get a lot of credit, because He is obviously filling in the gaps of where we fall short.

And then, I think we’ve gotten better in the areas that we’ve seen work for us. And what worked prior to the pandemic, is still working after the pandemic.

People are still searching for a church where they feel loved, and feel like they can belong.

They’re still searching for a church that preaches the Bible in a way they can easily understand and apply to their lives.

They’re still searching for a church that values their kids enough to make them a priority when it comes to the money spent on the ministry and the quality of people serving in the ministry.

There’s a few other things I could add, but I think the three statements above really sum up our success, and I would say most churches that are currently healthy and growing.

So, if you don’t feel successful right now, maybe it’s still because of the pandemic. That could be true for a lot of churches. For others, maybe you need to ask yourself how you’re doing in the three areas I mentioned above.

If you have any thoughts or questions, I’d love to hear from you. You can send me a message at my new Facebook page, Small Town Church XP.

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2 thoughts on “The Secret to Post-Pandemic Success

  1. Mark Sties

    Glad your church is thriving with God’s help. Awesome!

    For churches in general, I hear giving has been sustained (miraculously) but in person attendance continuing to decline. Most churches experiencing growth seem to be from transfer growth, not seekers. Our country is growing more post-Christian, post-truth all the time, and many churches talk and relate in ways that outsiders can’t begin to engage with. I just read Positively Irritating by Jon Ritner and couldn’t agree with it more. Plus Christians learn differently now. They have tons of teaching podcasts, Bible apps, small groups, affinity groups, etc. that dial in to their specific needs and work with their crazy schedules.

    I agree with you that digital needs to happen in a big way…

    Gen Z is the future of the church plus we want to reach them now. At some point ALL churches should invest in digital outreach and community regardless of how much they want it to stay a predominantly in-person Sunday morning experience. Plus, digital outreach and community keeps the discipleship process going strong the other 6 days of the week for all generations. Digital really needs to play an intentional part of the discipleship process sooner than later. And it needs dedicated resources and staff, not the leftovers. It needs a place at the planning table, not to be in a reactionary (told last) position.

    1. tds0249@gmail.com

      Mark,
      Thanks for the comment. I absolutely agree with you. Unfortunately it seems like many pastors resist digital, in the same way that many churches refused to go away from only singing hymns. You can hold on to your traditions all you want, but eventually you’re going to pay a price for it.

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