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5 Predictions About the Future Church While Everything’s Still Unknown

future church

By now you’ve realized that the Coronavirus pandemic is not an interruption nearly as much as it’s a disruption.

And as you move more deeply through this crisis, the question of what kind of world will emerge beyond the crisis is probably also starting to occupy your mind. Mine too.

It’s pretty clear by now that the shuttering of business, churches and restrictions on movement and gatherings will be measured in months rather than weeks. It’s also becoming far more likely that when things do re-open, it won’t be an overnight return to wide-open gatherings and travel. To make things more challenging, the return to travel and gatherings the way they were might be measured in years, not months. Perhaps it will never be quite the same again.

As upsetting and frustrating as that may be (and I hope I’m wrong), your job is a leader isn’t to fight reality, it’s to cooperate with it and leverage it.  Fools deny reality, kicking against it to make it do what they hope it will do. The wise co-operate with it, leveraging it for new opportunities.

It's becoming obvious that the Coronavirus pandemic is not an interruption nearly as much as it's a disruption. The new world will be a different place. Click To Tweet

So let’s start here: the new world will be a different place. In some ways deeply recognizable, but in some profound ways, different as well.

And, as a result, the church will be a different place—same mission, just some very new methods.

As much as you may want everything to go back to normal, you can’t go back to normal when normal changed forever. The future isn’t kind to the unprepared, so prepare.

Please hear the promise in change though: leaders who have the energy, passion and agility to change now will end up advancing their mission in the future.

And of course, leaders who don’t, won’t. They may not even survive.

As much as you may want everything to go back to normal, you can't go back to normal when normal changed forever. The future isn't kind to the unprepared, so prepare. Click To Tweet

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Because this is such a difficult and challenging time for everyone, but especially for leaders, my team and I have put together some free resources to get behind you and your team.

If you want my best resource on crisis leadership, I created a free 7-part online, on-demand course on crisis leadership called How to Lead Through Crisis: Strategies for Navigating Rapid and Unexpected Change

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You can get instant access to the course here.

I also have a free blog post series on the current global crisis:

Crisis Leadership, Christian Leadership and the Corona Virus

How to Lead Through Rapid, Unexpected Change

8 Ways to Lead in the New Digital Default Church

5 Ways The Current Crisis is Accelerating The Arrival of the Future Church

My Top 7 Rules for Leading a Digital Team

3 Simple Ways To Make Sure You Don’t Break In the Crisis

8 Early Tips for Producing Digital Content During the Current Crisis

Why Motivation Alone Won’t Get Your People (Or You) Through This Crisis

The Three Kinds of Leaders You See In A Crisis

Hope this helps you and your team lead well in a very challenging season.

5 Predictions About the Future Church While Everything’s Still Unknown

So, with all that said. What does the future look like?

While it’s impossible to know where this will all land, how it will land or what things will look like, and while two months from now this might be an entirely different post,  you can begin to see the trends.

Here are some trends I’m watching very closely and would put time and energy into resourcing in the midst of the crisis.

1. Digital Church Is Here To Stay

As much as many churches went online for the first time and everyone made digital their default, the long debate about whether online church is ‘real’ or not is settled.

And even if it’s not settled theologically (a few still have questions and objections and always will), it is settled practically.

Of course physical gatherings will return with joy as restrictions lift (don’t ignore the probability that the restrictions will lift partially and gradually), but to think that the world will suddenly go back to 100% physical when people have experienced digital is highly unlikely for a number of reasons.

First, because digital church is the only option now, churches have poured a ton of time and energy into making it better, experimenting with different formats and opportunities and really connecting with people. Many are doing a great job and it’s only likely to get better in the upcoming months as smaller churches come online and all churches keep innovating.

Second, sometimes the digital connections have been as or more meaningful than the in-person connections. I realize there will be many who push back against this, but it’s foolish to ignore the fact that people connect more easily online and often admit the truth more readily online than they do in person (That might not be right, but it is true).

Third, most of the churches who are online now are experiencing growth.

Again, the critics will question how to count the online numbers for real and raise 100 other objections, but it’s unmistakable that people who were unaware or disengaged with church a month ago are leaning in now. I have people in my own life who have attended a service now who never came to a building before. Our church has seen a 500% Sunday ‘attendance’ spike since the pandemic grew. And yes, people are texting in their decision to follow Jesus and we’re opening up digital discipleship pathways and groups for more people than we’ve ever connected before.

What about the argument that some of this won’t stick? Let me take you back to the analog days for a minute: everyone who attended your church in person didn’t ‘stick’ either.

Unprecedented challenges provide unprecedented opportunities. And what we’re seeing in these early days of digital church is a huge spike in engagement and interest.

To put digital church back on the shelf in the new normal is to ignore the greatest opportunity the church today has to reach people. And it also ignores the fact that many will want digital to be at least an option, if not a preferred method of engagement where geography and other barriers prevent access.

Will we go back to in-person and physical gatherings and services? Absolutely. But digital isn’t going away. It will continue to grow and advance.

In the future church, if you care about people, you’ll care about digital church.

In the future church, if you care about people, you'll care about digital church. Click To Tweet

2. Virtual And Flexible Staff Teams Will Be the New Normal

In the same way church went digital overnight, staff teams for churches and corporations did too.

I talked to a number of CEOs over the last week (who tend to be far more bottom-line driven than church leaders) who said as hard as the adjustment was for their teams to become virtual overnight, they’re not going back to the way it was before.

Some may close their offices and become entirely remote. Others will simply scale back things like square footage and travel along with the instance that everyone come in every day.

One CEO working from his home told me that what would have been a four day trip to the East Coast turned into a 5-hour virtual factory tour. When you calculate the dollars saved, the staff time and the opportunity cost involved (3 additional days to try new things), even when travel becomes an option again, it makes no sense to fly there anymore.

Another CEO who works in staffing said that prior to the disruption, even Fortune 100 companies looked at flexible and virtual work options as options. He believes that when things re-open, remote work and flexible work (some days in the office, some days out) will become a requirement for any company serious about attracting and keeping the best talent.

Translate that for church leaders.

As inefficient as working from home might seem now (kids hanging off you, everyone signing into Slack for the first time and not quite sure how Asana works), one day the kids will be back in school and novel tools will be normal tools, and then the real efficiency of flexible and remote work will start to kick in.

Prior to the disruption, there was already an emerging trend that saw your most talented young employees asking for the most flexibility: to work from home, coffee shops or to flex their hours. That will only accelerate.

The future workplace for churches and businesses will flexible workplaces: with an array of in-person and remote teams.

Again, move ahead five months and begin to think about hiring the ideal Exec Pastor you’ve been wanting to hire for a long time who doesn’t want to move. Bringing him or her on board as staff and flying them in a few times a year suddenly looks far more feasible than it did even a month ago. And with Zoom and video calls normalized now, you won’t feel nearly as distant as you would have earlier in having team members join meetings remotely.

On future teams, insisting that everyone show up in person will become a competitive disadvantage.

8-4 stopped working years ago. Now it’s broken beyond repair. The future workplace is the flexible workplace.

If you want more insight into the workplace of the future and how to lead remote and flexible work teams for better results, click here.

8-4 stopped working years ago. Now it's broken beyond repair.The future workplace is the flexible workplace. Click To Tweet

3. Churches will Shift Their Focus from Sunday to Every Day

One of the most exciting trends to emerge so far is to see churches focus on everyday ministry, not just Sunday ministry.

For years, the fun part of social media, online live events and even email marketing is that it allows you to show up in people’s lives every day, not just on Sundays.

But most church leaders were so Sunday-focused that they were totally absent in people’s lives by Monday, not to mention the other five days of the week.

That’s changing, and that can only be a good thing.

When it comes to discipleship and evangelism, every day is more important than Sunday.

When it comes to discipleship and evangelism, every day is more important than Sunday. Click To Tweet

Tens of thousands of church leaders are showing up online on every imaginable social media platform almost daily.

Not all that digital spaghetti will stick to the wall.

Some leaders are already tiring of daily messaging.

Others realize daily content is proving to be challenging (you have to have a lot to say).

And the initial enthusiasm of viewers will wane as the internet settles down into some new rhythm.

BUT…and this is big…the idea that we can go back to Sunday worship with a few midweek (group) meetings and the odd inspiring quote on Instagram is already a thing of the past. Sundays will continue to be really significant gathering and worship days for churches, but it can no longer stop there.

If people live every day in need of hope and resources to live out their faith (or to find faith) every day, church leaders have to start coming alongside people every day. Like many are doing right now.

In the future, churches will shift their focus from Sunday to every day, because people need to find faith and live out their faith every day.

In the future, churches will shift their focus from Sunday to every day, because people need to find faith and live out their faith every day. Click To Tweet

4. Leaders Will Start To Rethink Multisite 

This one takes us out on a bit of a ledge, so bear with me. Like I said, everything could be different in two months.

But I’m wondering how the disruption will fare for the multisite movement that’s been part of our landscape for the last three decades, with growing churches planting numerous physical locations.

Here’s what the current crisis has done so far. Overnight, every multisite church became a single site church, that single site being the internet.

And, as already discussed, church leaders are also discovering that digital church scales in a way that physical church doesn’t.

Overnight, every multisite church became a single site church, that single site being the internet. Click To Tweet

I have no idea what will happen to multisite churches when locations are allowed to reopen. Perhaps more people will flock back to church in person.

There are rattlings already that this could be the end for many malls, theatres and even restaurants.

That could mean that real estate, being cheaper than ever, could be snapped up cheaply by church leaders wanting to expand.

Or it could mean that you’re trying to be Blockbuster in the age of Netflix, AppleTV and Disney+.

If digital breaks down physical barriers, what will happen to physical locations?

Right now I think this is simply a question to be asked rather than anything to be acted on. But again, asking the question now gets you ready for an answer then.

Digital church scales in a way that physical church doesn't. Click To Tweet

5. The Sermon Will Be Reborn

Even in these early weeks of the disruption, church leaders and rethinking and reinventing the sermon.

For decades/centuries, the standard method of delivery has been a 30-40 minute monologue by a preacher based around scripture.

To be clear, I’m almost at the point where I think preaching could be a sacrament. I take it very seriously and believe it gets used powerfully by God to change lives through the preaching of his word. (Side note: It’s weird to me how many denominations restrict the presiding over communion to clergy but let anyone preach. Way more damage has been done through awful sermons than from misdistributing communion).

So how will the sermon be reborn? In many ways, but the key is to experiment.

  • Many sermons are getting shorter. Speaking into a camera takes a unique skill set, and most leaders are choosing to go shorter rather than longer. (Here are some pro-tips on that). I dropped from my usual 40 minutes to 26 minutes last weekend.
  • You can easily make messages interactive. Having live-chat during sermons can allow your hosts to engage with people, and at the very end of the service on Sunday I took live questions from people about the message (you can watch that and my message here).
  • You can start to film in advance and make the messages more creative, almost taking a cinematic approach to it. Obviously, production is limited now, but here’s a Christmas message we produced one year that shares the Gospel in a much different and more creative way than simply standing on a stage and speaking.
  • Some sermons might get longer and more intellectual. Online isn’t just video or social media. It’s also audio. In this post, which I wrote a few years ago, I argued one way that the Sermon 2.0 could take shape was through long, off-Sunday content. Shorter isn’t always better.  Long-form content has a role.

I realize there’s no consistent pattern here. That’s the point.

There will perhaps always be a role for the 40-minute message on a Sunday morning, but for the church to become far more creative than only has an upside.

Crisis is a cradle for innovation. So when it comes the sermon, innovate.

Crisis is a cradle for innovation. So when it comes the sermon, innovate. Click To Tweet

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  • Advance digitally to scale past physical barriers and grow your outreach.
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You can enroll and get instant access for you and your team here.

What Trends Are You Seeing? 

This is just a partial list of the trends I’m seeing or wondering about.

What are you seeing?

Scroll down and leave a comment.

5 Predictions About the Future Church While Everything’s Still Unknown

46 Comments

  1. Jorge Santander on May 4, 2020 at 7:07 am

    Your article is pretty interesting, I am wondering if you have it in Spanish. Or how I can get permission to translate it for some of my friends

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 4, 2020 at 7:06 pm

      We would love for you to translate any articles you would like and share them!

      Just link back to our original site!

  2. Chase Parrish on April 23, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    You, Sir, and your Pastoral friends who yield to this consensus view, have submitted your First Ammendment rights to the Radical Left and have taken the role of enforcers upon your congregants. You say it may be difficult for those with classic view of the Constitution. Don’t worry- our brave Founders who gave up their wealth, good names, and lives for the birth of our country had a pretty tough time, too. But you proceed and be comfortable, go with the flow, and warn those who get out of line, enforcing the Radical Left’s agenda for points. To you all who are detonating the overthrow of our Bill of Rights, let me leave you with a few quotes (I hope you believe in the freedom of speech and won’t delete this like all the technocrats [Facebook and so on] who remove posts they deem as unaligned with their agenda, as it may provoke conversation, and what w we need in our country is more speech, not less.):

    ABRAHAM LINCOLN
    We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.

    Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.

    Study the Constitution. Let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislatures, and enforced in courts of justice.

    The Constitution will not be preserved and defended until it is enforced and obeyed in every part of every one of the United States.

    Should my administration prove to be a very wicked one…or a very foolish one, if you, the people, are true to yourselves and the Constitution, there is little harm I can do, thank God.

    Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the constitution that no man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us.

  3. Kevin on April 21, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Thanks for sharing Carey. Blessings on you and your ministry. I’m a 20 year youth pastor at a Cornerstone Christian Community Church in Markham, ON and our whole staff has been challenged and comforted by your team over the years. Keep on keeping on.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 22, 2020 at 1:25 pm

      Thanks Kevin!

      Cheering for your team.

      • Brian McMichan on May 4, 2020 at 8:31 pm

        The goal is “How to lead through crisis!” …. The answers to ALL the needs of the people in any crisis is clearly set out in the Bible …. the role of those presenting guidance is to direct and encourage ALL people to seek the Lord Jesus …. He came to free the(spiritual) captives (caught up with fear, doubt, sickness, etc) and give sight to the (spiritually) blind (Luke 4:18-19) AND ON THE CROSS, His last words were “It is finished!” (John 19:30) .. HE HAD accomplished what He came to earth for.
        Sermons, guide books, courses, etc. should guide people to prayerfully and faithfully read verses like John 3:3 You MUST BE born again (dead to self and receive the Holy Spirit) … follow Jesus’s example of full immersion baptism (Baptismo [Greek] = immerse … to wash the “old man/woman away” … Ephesian 6:10-17 Put on the WHOLE armour that GOD SUPPLIES … to protect you …. NOT fight … the Holy Spirit does the fighting. 2 Cor 12:9(b) and 10 (b); Gal 5:1, 16-18, 24; Gal 3:2-3, 5; Rom 8:9; Phil 12b – 13 … are just a few …. we are children of God …. rest in His love (as a branch of the True Vine, moment by moment receiving ALL YOUR NEEDS from Him so that you bear abundant fruit (Gal 5:22-23) …. always remembering Zech 4:6 …. It is NOT by (our) might nor by power BUT by My Spirit, says the Lord.

  4. Pete on April 9, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    Great article! One thing I predict will be a quieter world where we spend more time individually reading the bible. This lockdown experience will be a first for many people. To suddenly not be rushing around and multitasking half a dozen items (including our entertainment options) at the same time is life altering. It’s unlikely anybody will want to boarding a plane flight to the other side of the world at the moment. The pace of life has massively dropped. As much as we will see technology benefit Christians in the home, I’d like to hope that the greater opportunity to read the bible in silence will also lead to profound change within Christian communities.

  5. Richard Palmer on April 8, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    For better or worse, I don’t disagree with your points. However, I suspect that instead of each of your points replacing the previous status quo, the reality will be that wise churches will not only maintain “old” ways when warranted but will additionally prepare for “new” trends as discerned. Future wisdom may not become a matter of wholesale change but a matter of balance, timing and application of what most effectively and efficiently carries out Christ’s commission to His churches.

  6. Seth Bryant on April 7, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    Carey, how is Connexus measuring online-only attendance? We are seeing many different standards and wanted to get your input/best practice. Should we use views? Unique users? Or “peak concurrent” from Church Online Platform? Most take one or more of those numbers and multiply it by a certain number of viewers. I’ve seen a multiplier anywhere from 1.5 to 3. Thanks for your help!

    • Phillip Kight on April 7, 2020 at 4:36 pm

      Good question Seth. Also curious on this.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 8, 2020 at 8:52 am

      Great question. We use a multiplier. It’s either 1.4 or 1.7. 3 is way too much in my view. I’d have to drill down more to exactly the metrics. I would go on the conservative side though. It’s too easy to exaggerate.

  7. Phillip Kight on April 7, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Good thoughts that really help us try to find a new perspective on this to capitalize on this life change.

    I actually agree with Brewster’s comment that all of this may really help multi-site campuses as people learn that they engage just find with a sermon if the pastor isn’t there physically.

    I seem to be in the minority that believes this covid-19 season won’t actually drive a ton of people to stay online for church but will rather have people valuing being in the building. The main reason being corporate worship. As pastors maybe we elevate the sermon to be the focal point when corporate worship is actually the only thing people can’t get/replicate from home when it comes to a worship service.

    I could be totally wrong but I don’t think churches that are healthy and doing well are going to see large numbers choose online over in person services. I think healthy churches that are doing well are going to have a opportunity to see growth both in person and online.

    Thank you for your continued excellence when it comes to content Carey. I appreciate how it is always challenging me to try to take a fresh look at ideas.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 8, 2020 at 8:51 am

      Thanks for sharing Phillip!

  8. Sam Rufus New Delhi INDIA on April 7, 2020 at 7:58 am

    Paradigm shifting insights! Thanks Carey, Provoked by you I am sharing a few thoughts all the way from India.

    Like all over the world we too have been locked down but praise God not locked in. Our small congregation ‘congregated’ for the first time to worship – online. On smart phones. Earlier due to distances and transportation we could rarely meet for prayer but today we were ‘full house’ spending a long season asit were in prayer, with one of our young people hosting the whole event. Leadership is now willingly and relevantly being handed over to younger people (far more tech savvy) who are responding with great enthusiasm and responsibility for a ‘time such as this’, Praise God. The Lord has shown us the way of ‘online’ which we will now adopt for weekly prayer even after the lock down is lifted.

    Yes, as times now demand we need to go beyond the ‘first right answer’. We must enjoy exploring the second right answer, the fifth and keep searching even for the fiftieth. Now it is no longer ‘Either’/’Or. It is the Genius of the ‘And’ as you have rightly pointed about the future of the Church being physical AND digital. Yes, GOD on MONDAY!

    I believe that this crisis has compelled many business schools to pull out their ‘binoculars’ to relook, rethink rewrite their curriculum. In like manner our seminaries too need to reimagine the subject of communication and urgently factor in digital to “Go ye into all the world”.

    “In the beginning God created …” Our God is a creative God and the only living God to guide, mentor and ‘shepherd’ His people. Digital is ‘God-sent’.

    The future belongs to those who are already there.

    Stay blessed Carey!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 8, 2020 at 8:50 am

      Great to hear from India Sam. The future belongs to those who are already there. Brilliant. 🙂

  9. Moruti on April 7, 2020 at 3:48 am

    Quite interesting points you have brought up here.
    Though be a challenge to most African Churches who are leading in poverty stricken countries with national and governmental problems. As we speak most of our members can’t afford data to tune in to our online church. First Sunday I did a facebook live video that was watched by almost 95% of people who are not in our church and mostly overseas, though the message reached a lot of people than before but the concern is the Church I pastor didn’t have access to their Pastors sermon. WI-FI is a thing for the rich if have it electricity load shedding is an interruption.
    I have scaled down from live facebook online to WhatsApp audio clips have seen better results, challenge still is now the elderly who don’t have such technology in their homes with this lockdown. What advice will you give to such Pastors facing such challenges with the new church emerging.

    Unless if these predictions are for the first world nations only.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 8, 2020 at 8:50 am

      Moruti, thank you for this. You’re so right. I have only lived in the West and don’t pretend to speak outside of it. Love the way you’re adapting. Thank you!

  10. Kory on April 6, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    I am a missionary, recently returned to north America. I agree with your points and observations and am heart broken by them. I read this and hear that the north America church will continue to be an american enterprise focused on performance. It will not use this opportunity to reflect on it’s own soul and consider if it has lost its essence. It will not allow this opportunity to first humble themselves. Everywhere but the west, the church grows, and it is not because they are following the lead of fortune 500 companies. This post breaks my heart.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 8, 2020 at 8:49 am

      Sorry to break your heart. I think it’s way more nuanced than you’re letting on, but thanks for sharing your opinion. Welcome back.

  11. Justin Klatt on April 6, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Love this Carey, all 5 points you made are exactly how we planted our church 1 1/2 years ago.

    1) DIGITAL CHURCH IS HERE TO STAY:
    we knew that digital church was the future so that is how we started with face to face discipleship and discussions in the middle of the sermon from the start of our church

    2) REMOTE STAFF AND TEAMS. My wife and I live in Gilbert AZ, our assistant pastors live in Victorville Ca, and we have ministry leaders in a total of 10 different cities in 5 states. A few ministry leaders who are Full Time RVers so they are on the road full time

    3) SHIFT FOCUS FROM SUNDAY TO EVERYDAY:
    This is why we have (so far) 8 communities that meet 6 days of the week at all different times to accommodate different time zones, lifestyles, occupations etc. so good

    4) RETHINK MULTISITE:
    A lot of people do not want to go back into the big churvh building.. they want community. This is why we have little communities across the country that go to church with each other face to face each week and build community discipleship with each other all week long

    5) SERMON WILL BE REBORN:
    Yes yes yes, we build discussion questions 2 times in the middle of every sermon. So there Is not more then 10ish min of preaching before a break to discuss and disciple each other. So fun.

    I literally lived every word of your blog Carey. Because we are 100% there with you for the last year and a half. Love it!!

    • Hart on April 8, 2020 at 7:26 am

      Many good thoughts here , really almost too many.
      I don’t resonate with your comment about the mission being the same going forward. Unless we invite God’s Spirit to challenge the church’s mission I’m not confident this mission belongs to God. God’s mission is always in a process of renewal as new occasions teach new duties. For too long the church has been on automatic pilot.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 8, 2020 at 8:46 am

      Way to go Justin! Cheering for you!

  12. Trey on April 6, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Thanks for always cranking out great content Carey! You made some great points here. Although, some may not turn out being totally on point, they have definitely caused us to ask more questions.
    We were strictly living by Podcasts and website for our online content. Turns out, my media and creative teams have been preparing for the day I finally gave in to go “live”. Fortunately, I am surrounded by greatness! We are now on the radio, Facebook, & YouTube soon. They are now finalizing our Resurrection Sunday production to air on a local tv station this week.
    Our ministry and impact just increased 100 fold. Now, more than ever, people are able to “visit” without the ridicule or pressure from their peers or family.
    Digital is here to stay for sure. However, people won’t stay (in person or online) if we don’t continue to give them relevant, life-changing content.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 8, 2020 at 8:46 am

      Love hearing this!

  13. Gary on April 6, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    Coming from a church that has provided professional quality online content (both live services and on demand content) for many years, it is hard to watch some churches struggle with simple things like lighting, sound quality, and camera positioning. If you are new to providing digital content please watch as many and varied sources as you can to see “best practices” such as 1) not holding your device in your lap. It moves around and makes your audience seasick. Oh, and we don’t want to look up your nose. 2) Being close to the microphone when speaking so you sound like you’re present rather than in the next county, and 3) Locate your device between you and a light source. Don’t position yourself where there’s a window behind you in the daytime. Use a high angle or “hair light” in addition to one level with your face.
    This is all new to many folks and it’s hard to remember the little things. It will get easier AND the quality will improve with time. Hang in there!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 8, 2020 at 8:46 am

      Can I just say as someone who’s been online a long time to that let’s just celebrate churches doing their best? I think they’ll improve as they go along but let’s not look down on them. These are good tips but people need encouragement right now. Love the way you ended the post.

  14. Tarmo on April 6, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Good ideas, not the new ones. What will happen with small churhes with older generation, who are not online?

    • Gary on April 6, 2020 at 1:41 pm

      I believe they will go back to doing what they’ve always done and seeing the same results they’ve always seen.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 8, 2020 at 8:42 am

      That question keeps coming up again and again. Honestly, that’s less than 10% of the population. Phone them. Care for them. Have members reach out. Then got on with the rest of the world. Don’t make the exception the rule.

  15. Emily on April 6, 2020 at 11:22 am

    I’m seeing a spark as churches become more creative. Worship teams are trying to figure out how to stream the best quality audio and provide lyrics for the congregation. Children’s ministries are creating video lessons and mailing out activity packets. Small groups are using Zoom to engage on a more regular basis. Best of all, there are a lot more members sharing about their church via social media.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 8, 2020 at 8:44 am

      Love this Emily!

  16. Dave Francis on April 6, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Love your comment, “In the future, churches will shift their focus from Sunday to every day, because people need to find faith and live out their faith every day.” I pray it’s true! This is what God intended all along. Thanks Carey!

    • Sam on April 6, 2020 at 11:54 am

      I agree. I pray that Sunday is the culmination of our week not another obligation in our week.

  17. Gil on April 6, 2020 at 10:34 am

    Great insights. FYI that social media bar floating on side made reading on my iPhone super annoying!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 8, 2020 at 8:43 am

      Thanks for the feedback….

  18. Jörn Zaefferer on April 6, 2020 at 10:16 am

    More of a tragedy than a true romance. A story more about the meaning of home, rather than the love live of the protagonist.

  19. Ed on April 6, 2020 at 9:58 am

    I love your insights and predictions. Like the theology professor said about his teaching, probably 20% of it is wrong, but the problem is, we don’t know what 20%! Another relevant reference: “It is very hard to predict, especially about the future.” Keep up the very good work of making us think and consider the future, nonetheless!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 8, 2020 at 8:43 am

      Thanks Ed!

  20. David Nelson on April 6, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Pastors and staff will need to build capacity for on camera and online roles. Our church is new to online format and something as simple as adjusting the lighting made a huge difference in the quality of the product.

  21. Greg on April 6, 2020 at 9:15 am

    I must say that it has caused us to consider some ways we were doing ministry and simply not doing that anymore. It also has opened the door to new ministry to young adults that we did not have before the crisis. In addition, it has been a real test of how much we had influenced our community before this. I’m very thankful that we had an established a relationship with our local schools and first responders. We are now helping to provide food for students who are out of school and providing other needs for the first responders. The best part of it was they called us first to help because of that relationship had with them prior to all of this happening. I have told our staff it is not business as usual it is business unusually.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 6, 2020 at 9:40 am

      Some great points here Greg. And it might be business unusually for a long time to come!

  22. Stephen Brewster on April 6, 2020 at 8:33 am

    To your multi-site point I think campuses could thrive as people learn that the screen is not near as big of a hurdle that they thought it was in the past.

    As a third option behind digital, broadcast location, then campus. Maybe. 🙂

    • Carey Nieuwhof on April 6, 2020 at 9:41 am

      As always, interesting Brewster. That’s a good way to think about it. I think so many assumptions are being challenged right now.

  23. Roger Lane on April 6, 2020 at 8:31 am

    Looking forward to learning something about managing ministry in 2020

    • Don Meadows on April 6, 2020 at 9:48 am

      1. The importance of equipping parents for family discipleship .
      2. The importance of, to whatever degree possible, having every resource available online for easy access.

      • Alison on April 8, 2020 at 8:18 am

        I expect much of your predictions are true for some churches but certainly not all. I can see far more of my working life being spent online and I don’t intend to spend more time online outside work if I can help it! I want to spend far less online once restrictions are lifted. As an introvert it’s not healthy to spend too much time alone for me even if does come naturally – I’m not going to commit to a church that encourages my default desire to keep a distance.

        In the belief there’s a lot of folk like me I predict that there will also be a real rejection of online connections replacing real life meetings and a scaling back to much smaller churches meeting more informally and emulating the early church models eg meeting in homes regularly, breaking bread together, praying and discussing the Bible as peers with the preacher acting as a guide rather delivering a monologue and using high quality digital resources when appropriate rather than as a matter of course. At least, I sincerely hope so otherwise I’m out of church for good.

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