The words of Winston Churchill became my mantra during the pandemic, “Don’t waste a crisis.” With that in mind, the pandemic afforded Forks Community Church, Forks Township, PA, the opportunity to re-evaluate everything we did. Rather than yearn to go back to normal, our aim was to be better than normal. To accomplish this goal, we developed a ministry blueprint to clarify our purpose, mission, values, and strategy. We used the “Ministry Blueprint” video course from our membership at www.ChurchFuel.com. This tool helped us align all of our ministries so that we are pulling in the same direction and avoid ministry silos (ministries operating independently of the overall mission). Now a year later, we have greater clarity, alignment, and momentum than ever before. We are on our way to “better than normal.”
When we were forced to pivot from in-person to online services, we saw it as an opportunity to be different. Instead of trying to mimic a normal worship service we went with an online experience that had the feel of a TED Talk. No sermon was longer than 20 minutes. We used various backgrounds and filmed in various settings to mix things up. The result was that we had far greater engagement than ever before.
Because of increased online engagement, we have elected to experiment with a hybrid or phygital (physical plus digital) approach to ministry. Digital platforms seem to be the new front door of the church. If that’s where people are connecting with Jesus, we want to be there with them. We’re not experts, by far. We do want to embrace this opportunity to see where God is working and join Him in that work.
As a result, we are starting a Saturday Night Online Service that premieres weekly on Facebook and
YouTube. Our goal isn’t to have people watch and consume information. We want to see them take their next steps towards connecting with Christ and His community. To help them, we have created an online sermon guide complete with next steps on our church app. The jury is still out on the fruit of this ministry.
Many might think of what the pandemic took from the church. It certainly disrupted our sense of normal. I think that disruption was a good thing. The pandemic forced us to move from some outdated methods and cherished preferences to seek out new ways God is working to draw people to Himself.
Tim Zuck is the pastor of Forks Community Church in Forks Township, PA.