As clergy coach Laura Stephens-Reed shared in a recent blog post on her site, the window of opportunity to make changes based on pandemic learnings is closing. With rising vaccinations, the push to return to familiar patterns is growing in intensity, but first we must process what we’ve been through in order to learn from it. Rev. Stephens-Reed suggests questions for reflection, but you probably have some specific to your own setting too.
We asked participants in the Faith+Lead Learning Lab what questions they are asking to help congregants reflect on what they’ve been through as a church and what that means for moving forward. Here are some of their best questions to ask:
- How has the past year changed our perceptions of the words “community” and “fellowship”?
- What things do you want to leave behind and what things do you want to hold onto from how we’ve worshiped and interacted during the pandemic?
- How is your faith in regard to the challenges of this past year? How have you stayed connected/become disconnected from your church community in ways that have been important to you?
- How and where did you notice God at work in your life during the pandemic in new ways?
- Do you feel more or less comfortable with “no socializing” rules? How might this lead us to understand and minister effectively with more introverted parishioners?
- Can we create virtual communities to meet certain needs in the future?
- What did you learn about your ability to navigate uncertainty individually and communally?
Rev. Stephens-Reed concludes, “if we wait too long to have these conversations, our church members might settle so deeply back into the worn places in their seats that we’ll have to wait for another crisis to drive us to change.”
When are your opportunities to ask provocative questions about the last year in your congregation? Brainstorm a list of at least 3 groups you could talk with about what you’ve all learned.
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