by Steve Matthews
This blog post is part of a series on strategies and tools for helping congregations survive and thrive in the face of the COVID crisis.
True confession: in my pre-COVID days, I always had good intentions about being a good neighbor and nurturing community. I thought about joining the neighborhood association, had casual conversations like “wouldn’t it be great to have a block party” but never made it happen, met people with whom I intended to get together but never did, but mostly, I would raise my hand and speak when passing, pick up trash when I saw it, and disappear into my backyard sanctuary for solitude, gardening, and fellowship with friends (most of whom are not neighbors).
This kind of describes a lot of pre-COVID churches I know, too. They are friendly to their neighbors (the people and business owners), they care about the appearance of the neighborhood, they offer assistance to those in need… but often, friendly church members park in front of the church, enter the church doors, and find meaning and fellowship with people like them inside the walls, and work to grow and nurture what they find there.
I can almost look back to those church days with some measure of nostalgia. While it always felt uncomfortably comfortable, it was familiar, it was easy, and it was stable… or was it? It’s time to get real and let go of our attachment to what is comfortable, familiar, easy, and stable. Those days are gone for a while… for a long while (or perhaps it was just a myth). We are now pilgrims on a new journey. We may not know where we are going or how we will get there, but we have left the building… and we have left the building together.[Read more…]