When Your Church Reopens, What Will Be Left and Who Will Still Come? Some Thoughts.

As churches slowly reopen their physical doors, church leaders are all asking the same question: who will still be around?

It’s a great question.

And not an easy one to answer. A lot of church leaders are nervous, uncertain and longing to get things back to something certain.

With several months of online-only church, it can be hard to know how many new people have come on board, who’s still engaged, who’s left, and who may be drifting.

And even as buildings re-open, it’s hard to get a gauge because of social distancing, limited capacity and, in almost all cases, no kids ministry (leaving families for the most part still at home).

In this post, I’ll take a quick look at the numbers, offer some observations and some strategies that I hope will help your church not just maintain, but advance in the midst of all this uncertainty.

Church Goers Are…A Little Uncertain

As a church leader texted me recently, opening is so much harder than closing.

The Barna Group is doing weekly polling that, leading up to Easter, showed 49% and even 59% reported surging online attendance compared to their former in-person attendance.

Since Easter, that’s dropped.

Now, only 25% of churches are reporting an attendance surge above previous levels, and in talking to leaders every week, more are seeing their online numbers drop.

So what about reopening? Who will be streaming back as doors open again?

A recent related poll of thousands of church leaders facilitated by Gloo showed people have little consensus around when they feel ‘safe’ to gather again in public.

Asked which other type of activity BEST signals to you that it is time to open in-person worship at the church, the most common answer was a low community level of COVID cases (21.5%)

Other responses included when

  • Social distancing and stay home guidelines are lifted: 17%
  • Local businesses are open: 14%
  • Local restaurant seating areas are open 8%
  • Testing is widely available and utilized 6%
  • Schools are open 4%
  • Vaccine available 3%

But the following results also speak volumes:

  • 15% said they would only return when all the conditions are met (low cases, business open, restrictions lifted, vaccine available).
  • 10% admitted they just weren’t sure.

Essentially, 25% either aren’t sure or aren’t coming back for a long time.

An additional 30% of respondents said they’d rather worship at home and only return when they can be mask-free at church.

25% of church attenders aren't sure when they're coming back or aren't coming back for a long time. An additional 30% of respondents said they'd rather worship at home and only return when they can be mask-free at church. Click To Tweet

I know, that’s not encouraging, but it’s both real and understandable.

If you’d like to poll your congregations on these questions (for free) and even add a few questions of your own, you can do that here.

So how do you put this all into perspective?

Here are four thoughts that I hope can help guide you as you make some very pivotal decisions.

After all, re-opening your church is so much more complex than closing it ever was.

Re-opening your church is so much more complex than closing it ever was. Click To Tweet

1. Become a Lot More Agile: Normal Isn’t Coming Back Any Time Soon

Church leaders who are waiting for things to get back to normal will be waiting a long time.

It’s hard to go back to normal when normal disappeared.

So much has changed, not just in terms of what’s legally allowed (or morally responsible) but, as the poll results suggest,  in terms of how people think.

And to make it more personal, consider how you think.

For example, even if you could, do you really want to get into a crowded restaurant right now? Would you want general admission floor tickets to hear your favorite band so you could crush in with everyone else?

Probably not. At least I wouldn’t.

The psychology of human behavior has an entirely new dynamic that leaders will have to deal with.

Before you over-spiritualize it, it’s not a question of faith over fear. It’s a sign that this is a deeply confusing, changing time.

People need to be led and cared for, they just need to be led and cared for differently.

Church leaders who are waiting for things to get back to normal will be waiting a long time. It's hard to go back to normal when normal disappeared. Click To Tweet

Instead, pivot into a new normal.

Don’t be so focused on getting back to “normal” that you step back into the past when you step back into your facility.

To do that, you’ll have to become far more agile in the future than you have been in the past.

In a culture of constant change and uncertainty, agility is ability, and flexibility is a superpower.

If you’re curious as to how well-positioned you are to thrive in the new normal, I have a new, short Agility Quiz that can help you assess whether you’re likely to survive, thrive or struggle in the new normal.

It’s just 14 question and results will be sent to you immediately. Here’s the link.

The bottom line is this: the more agile you are heading into the future, the better you’ll be able to realize (and even advance) your mission.

In a culture of constant change and uncertainty, agility is ability, and flexibility is a superpower. Click To Tweet

2. Remember That You’ve Already Reached New People

The last few months haven’t been all loss. In fact, for many churches, that’s hardly the case.

You’ve likely reached new people online, including many you haven’t yet met.

The challenge with ministry online is a little like the challenge with new people who attend your church. It can be hard to get to know them.

Even with physical attendance, countless churches have new people who attend, sit in the back row and don’t connect with anyone.

Online just amplifies that, which is good and bad. You’re reaching new people…you just don’t know who.

The key is to move toward engagement, encouraging online attenders to:

  • Fill out an online welcome card or text their info in
  • Like, comment or follow so you can connect more personally
  • Take a step into an orientation group, small group or some kind of movement beyond attending service
  • Join your email list

Engagement is a sign of openness and a desire to connect.

Just because you can’t see an online attender doesn’t mean they aren’t real. So don’t give up on the progress you’ve made.

Just because you can't see an online attender doesn't mean they aren't real. Click To Tweet

3. Realize Some Online Attenders Will Stay Online for a Long Time (and that has nothing to do with COVID)

As we’ve already seen, even as your buildings reopen, not everyone will rush into church. Some of that is COVID related, but it’s actually much deeper than that.

For years now, the trend has been for new people to watch online for weeks, months or even a year before they venture into a church’s physical building.

That trend will not only continue, it will accelerate.

Digital is the new default for our culture, and the current crisis only accelerated that.

Digital is the new default for our culture, and the current crisis only accelerated that. Click To Tweet

Church leaders who take all the resources they have been spending and investing in online church and move them back into physical ministry locations risk losing any online traction they’ve picked up as well as the audience that’s still watching.

In the future, churches that have the largest impact will think of themselves as digital organizations with physical expressions rather than physical organizations with digital presences.

So don’t let your foot off the digital pedal.

In the future, churches that have the largest impact will think of themselves as digital organizations with physical expressions rather than physical organizations with digital presences. Click To Tweet

4. Resist the Urge to Make Online Attenders or Non-Attenders Second-class Citizens

The church has enough dividing lines and judgmentalism already. We don’t need any more, and we should actively eliminate what we have.

But it’s not that hard to imagine that both church leaders and church members would start to divide themselves into two categories

The truly faithful, risk-taking, trusting, in-person attenders who are loyal and deeply Christian

Everybody else

That’s not just sinful, it’s stupid (as well as unstrategic).

Church leaders, if you stand there with a scowl on your face every Sunday angry about empty seats, why would anyone want to sit in one?

When you devalue people—curious people, frightened people, anxious people, cautious people, new people, hurt people—you sabotage the very mission you’re trying to accomplish.

People can smell judgment a mile away. So, church leaders, stop judging.

People can smell judgment a mile away. So, church leaders, stop judging. Click To Tweet

This is a very critical moment for the church moving forward.

Church leaders who embrace infrequent attenders, online attenders and non-attenders will eventually have more attenders.

Those who don’t, won’t.

Church leaders who embrace infrequent attenders, online attenders and non-attenders will eventually have more attenders. Click To Tweet

5. Be Less Controlling: Being Controlling and Being Effective are Usually Mutually Exclusive

I know this sounds axiomatic, but the truth is God is still in control.

Every leader is struggling with a loss of control. I am.

The truth is you can’t control:

  • The economy
  • Whether people return to church
  • When people return to church
  • Your numbers
  • Human behaviour
  • The future

And that’s massively frightening for a lot of leaders.

You had a system that worked…and now, it’s gone.

But that’s okay. God is still in control. You aren’t. You never were.

So what do you do?

For starters, focus on what you can control, not on what you can’t.

You and I can’t manipulate events or people, but you can respond to what’s happening and try to help people in the midst of it.

Second, look for the opportunity instead of the obstacle. My favorite question to ask during the crisis is the simple question “What does this make possible?”

The church has always been at its best when it’s under pressure.

It’s one thing to preach that God is doing a new thing. It’s another thing to embrace it.

I imagine that God is reforming and reshaping the church for the future. You resist that, or you can embrace it.

Here’s a principle I’m reminding myself of these days: Being highly controlling and highly effective are mutually exclusive.

In your desire to control things and get back to ‘normal,’ are you squeezing out new things God may want to do in you and through you?

I don’t know the answer to that question, but I sense the question is important. I’m asking it personally.

Being highly controlling and highly effective are mutually exclusive. Click To Tweet

You Don’t Have to Guess How Your Church Feels. Poll Your Church For Free

For sure there are ways to track where your church is at.

The easiest way to get real-time information on your church reopening is to poll your congregation directly.

I’ve partnered with Gloo, a US-based platform and technology firm, to give leaders access to the Returning to Church Check-In, a way to directly survey your congregation on how they are feeling about a return to church.

There are about a dozen standard questions that will help you benchmark your congregation’s responses against national averages and the check-in allows you to ask your own questions as well, so you don’t have to guess.

You can access the Returning to Church Check-In for free here.

Data-informed decisions are simply better decisions.

Data-informed decisions are simply better decisions. Click To Tweet

The Future is Uncertain. How Agile Are You? Take The Agility Quiz.

Will you thrive in the new normal?

Some organizations will thrive in the new normal. Others won’t.

Over 70% of the 700+ leaders who took a recent survey predict that the future for their organization is going to look very different than before the global crisis.

While the future is uncertain, there are clear indicators and characteristics of which organizations will fail which ones will thrive in the new normal.

So, let’s see how you and your organization are positioned.

Take the free, 14 question assessment and have results sent to you immediately.

Take the quiz now.

What Do You See?

What issues are you grappling with as your church reopens or considers reopening?

Scroll down and leave a comment.

When Your Church Reopens, What Will Be Left and Who Will Still Come? Some Thoughts.


  1. Stefan Youngblood on May 20, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    Hey Carey, I’ve been working for years now (41) inside and outside the church building. I have “We Bring a Sacrifice of Praise” transparencies in my garage and I think “clearly” I’ll see the hologram pastor as well. I find it amazing that the empty church building has helped the real Church building. A few years ago we acquired GoLive.church and Pocket.church for branding realizing that soon we’d see The Pajama Church. 7 years ago in Nepal, on an ascent to Mt Everest Base Camp I’ll never forget my Sherpa telling is to back up against the mountain next to the cliff because he heard yak coming around the bend. We did, and here at 16,000 ft elevation, away from civilization walks this line of yak, bells around their necks, hogging the narrow trail, and bringing up the rear comes a Himalayan yak herdsman, talking on his cell phone. Old meets new. Surreal, but real. Change is here. Thanks for the pivot encouragement.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 21, 2020 at 2:25 pm

      That’s a great story! The future is definitely here.

      Glad you’re pivoting.

  2. Peter van Duinen on May 20, 2020 at 8:24 am

    I’ve tried to access the Gloo survey. However, it’s not set up to accept Canadian postal codes. Is there anyway for A Canadian church to get access to the survey. Thanks.

  3. Miranda on May 19, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    So I’ve learned the type of tech used is a deal breaker for me. I hate Zoom and find it triggers all my distraction tendencies. I must use it all week for work. But for church I prefer a simpler pre-taped YouTube video. Zoom is good for coffee hours but for me, it does not enhance the reflective nature of my workshop time. My attendance at weekly church is up but it is not with my current local congregation.

  4. Wayne on May 18, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    I’m not sure why not having a kids ministry has to “ for the most part, leave families at home “? While there is benefit to having a children’s message, it should not be a determining factor for church attendance. Most pastors’ messages, on a regular basis, are relatable to children even 5 years old. During this abnormal time, I’m confident that pastors are capable of tailoring part of their message to be especially understandable to the young children as well.
    I fully admit to being older and part of a smaller community. But having said that, I don’t feel that much of what this article portrays is relevant on a personal spiritual level to what most people need whether it be in a larger metropolitan are or in this “digital “ age.
    What people are looking for more than anything else is genuineness, a feeling of belonging and love. These are the components among many other necessities of life that a church provides.
    While technology is not to be overlooked, the personal relationship and contact (yes, physical too, at the appropriate time) will ALWAYS be normal.
    While not a biblical character, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said during WWII “we have nothing to fear than fear itself “. Let’s make sure in this time of uncertainty that we don’t get caught up by replacing faith with fear. God has been, and always will be, in control!
    For those of us who are believers, let’s show that this control is normal. And for those who don’t yet know the Lord, let’s show them what a new normal can be.
    Praise be to God!

    • Peter van Duinen on May 21, 2020 at 2:36 pm

      I would posit that there’s a big difference between a children’s message and a children’s ministry. As a parent of young kids I want to attend a church that also seeks to meet the spiritual needs of my children as much as they do for adults. And a five minute children’s message is not gonna cut it. By not offering a vibrant and relevant children’s ministry to families with kids of all ages, a church limits its reach in the community. No children’s ministry generally equates to now families with kids. And no families with kids generally equates to a short lifespan of a congregation.

    • Pastor David on July 6, 2020 at 11:48 pm

      Pastor friend, I challenged my Sunday School leader, a young lady about 30, to see if she couldn’t put something together for children. Most families have maybe a desktop or/and laptop and certainly cell phones. The kids can have a cell phone or tablet and the adults the big screen. Seems to be working. She’s getting finger puppet Bible stories and lessons. Lovely stuff! In our case – in Spanish! The young people need freedom and challenges. It’s an ability I don’t but they do – encurage capable people to do great things for God.

    • Jenni on November 18, 2020 at 12:10 pm

      As of parent of 3 very antsy young kids who have been diagnosed with ADHD, my concern is not that the message won’t be relevant to my kids. I’ve seen that kids are able to learn from many adult conversations. However, my kids just won’t sit through the message. Mine have difficulty even getting through the worship portion of the service without disrupting others. At our current stage of life, if my kids are in a traditional service with me, then 95% of my focus is on them and helping them to behave in a way that doesn’t disrupt others, so I’m not even truly participating in and benefitting from the service. Now not only do I have to keep my kids quiet, but I also have to keep them socially distanced from other families – it does not work for us. I know this isn’t true for all families, but I’m sure it is true for some.

  5. Bryan on May 18, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    Thank you! This is helpful. The challenging part is every day is different.

  6. Sandra Cavallo on May 18, 2020 at 6:03 pm

    Hi Carey! Thanks for this great article. I am from a church in Australia and would love to poll my church. As you mentioned it’s not available on Gloo just yet. Is it possible to get the list of questions that were used in Gloo?

  7. Jonan on May 18, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    One issue that some churches are yearning to gather physically in a building is the idea that the church will collect more offerings as the pre-pandemic days’ figure would show. Will you please include this topic in your next survey? What are your suggestions for resource generations for very traditional churches who are struggling to gather offerings after shifting abruptly to online worship services? Thank you!

  8. Bob&Christine Woolner on May 16, 2020 at 3:10 am

    We are disappointed could not access the Gloo survey for our church as we are outside the US, Canada and UK. Is there any way churches in Australia can engage in the process?

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 16, 2020 at 6:49 am

      Hi Bob and Christine. Thanks for sharing that. The ultimate plan is to roll out access to more countries, but Gloo just started the public phase of this long term project in March. Hang in there. And I love Australia. Hope to see your country again in 2021.

    • Connie Liu on May 17, 2020 at 8:21 am

      The check in survey does not allow typing alphabet so Canadian zip code are not allowed

  9. Justin Klatt on May 15, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    Amen! Love this post Carey!

  10. Cody Vermillion on May 15, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    Some really great stuff here! Thanks for writing it. One thing I’d add is: leaders need to start or continue building up and empowering others to be the Church in their homes, communities, & workplaces. A Sunday service or livestream is just one thing the Church does. If we keep seeing this time as a waiting until we can “go back to Church” we’ve missed the reality that we are the Church. In our families. In our Zoom calls. In our grocery runs. And every believer is a leader or a pastor to someone in their own life. Let’s equip them to be that. 😁

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 16, 2020 at 6:45 am

      Couldn’t agree more Cody! Thanks!

    • Drew on May 17, 2020 at 12:49 pm


    • Bobbi Siek on May 18, 2020 at 10:59 am

      Great observation and a good solution for the Church moving forward. Everyone can worship and experience non judgmental access to God within their personal sanctuary. Gradually, groups will find each other and strengthen the faith community.

  11. maria on May 15, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Great article I will share with our leadership team. Our church however is a traditional, sacramental one. So we cannot substitute Holy Communion or create it in our homes. I fear this makes it quite difficult for us to thrive online for the long term. We can worship online, and our parish has done very well within these confines. However going forward, I think it is going to be hard to maintain without the sacramental elements that we can touch, taste, smell. And I do not pose this as a theological issue, more of a practical one. thank you for letting me share.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 16, 2020 at 6:46 am

      Maria I hear you, and you’re not alone in that. I wonder if some traditions might rethink their approach in light of the advance of technology. Forms of worship have changed dramatically over the centuries. I wonder if this might precipitate similar change.

  12. Josh on May 15, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    With all respect and appreciation, I couldn’t disagree more with some of the points in this article. In fact, those churches and leaders who are predicting that the church will necessarily be primarily digital moving forward are those churches and leaders who now realize they will have to try and be predominantly digital in order to survive. This crisis has not made the majority of people less desiring of real community and connection, which is more effectively experienced in authentic/in-person gatherings- it has made the majority of our societies desire that person to person connection more. So in person gatherings will have to pivot to take precautions and policies to help navigate new people’s perceptions, but that doesn’t mean more people who are interested in exploring a church family will prefer online. In fact, in the near future for those churches who focus too heavily on the online “front door” will find themselves to be non-essential to the lives and spiritual development of those online explorers and eventually irrelevant. Those that most aggressively and strategically put in place a plan to have vibrant, healthy, and relationship building gatherings in light of the changes necessitated by the CoVID response will be the most effective, relevant to the spiritual/relational needs of our community, and growing long term. Eventually, there will be a natural sorting through between those who wish to embrace a higher level of spiritual discipleship and relational connection and those who are only online window shopping to manage their fears, anxiety, and loneliness. Our call and goal is to lovingly help nudge and move those spiritual seekers from at-home isolation and “silo Chritianity” towards healthy, life-giving, and essential connection within a church family. In person gatherings offer Biblical and essential benefits of the spiritual, relational, and emotional kind that online only experiences simply cannot replicate. Our church has already returned to meeting: Over 50% have come each week, most of the other half online. Those that have not joined are not primarily concerned about the virus, but rather simply want to wait till the restrictions are fewer in regards to wearing masks and zero-tolerance for physical touch. They are MORE hungry for that in person human connection, not less, and they are not interested in any spiritual leader or church philosophy that would tell them that that kind of in person worship and encouragement is unnecessary and not effective in some “new normal.” CoVID 19 will likely accelerate the already noted decline of single site megachurches and larger churches that don’t rethink how to connect their people in smaller environments. But it will also mark the rapid expansion of smaller churches and gatherings which emphasize authenticity and community, leading to the new “megachurches” being regional networks of many smaller congregations with the utilization of many more spiritual leaders to lead them. In-person worship isn’t going away- impersonal in-person worship is going away. The power of Christ’s Body gathered to then scatter and do His work in our communities throughout the week will be stronger than ever, just as it has been throughout every previous crisis and pandemic the Church has led through.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 16, 2020 at 6:48 am

      Thanks Josh. I agree, in-person worship isn’t going away. But it will be such a small piece of the future pie. If we’re serious about reaching people, online changes everything. Keep up the great work in the local community!

  13. Trabelus on May 15, 2020 at 10:53 am

    Great Article!!! Crazy, I met you about 4 years ago at a 400 Gathering, I think in Alabama. I was just hired at a fast growing church in NY and we went to the gathering and I had no idea who you were, yet some of the guys on my team were in awe at meeting you. Rockstar status! Fast forward to today, your blogs have been a tremendous blessing to me (I think one of my favorites is you and Hortz Shulze)…I enjoyed “I didn’t see it coming” (I scored an autographed copy – go me) and I wish I knew who you were 4 years ago so I could have appreciated who I had the privilege to meet in person! Bless you brother!

    Here is a legit question…Our church is know for being welcoming! Loving, embracing, hand shaking, hugging (all of the things that some church leaders are glad might go away – haha) but that’s one thing people comment about on Connection Cards…our church is welcoming and warm, etc. I know we can find a way to be that when we return while practicing distancing, that’s our responsibility as leaders…but what would you suggest to leaders who are thinking “we want to re-open when we can be “INSERT NAME OF YOUR CHURCH HERE,” meaning opening before we can be “who we are” as a church would be a mistake. When I heard that at a staff meeting, it just didn’t sit well with me. What are your thoughts?

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 15, 2020 at 10:56 am

      Trabelus…man so glad to hear from you. And thank you for the kind words. That’s so thoughtful of you to share. Well, great question. I would focus on the mission and values of your church over the methods. Welcoming CAN be expressed through hugs, handshakes, etc. But that’s just a method. The first thing to die in crisis is our old methods. But welcoming is a value and attitude more than it is an action. So here are some questions to ask moving forward: how can we be welcoming online? In homes? in the community? Virtually? Hope this helps. When the methods break, go back to your mission.

      • Trabelus on May 15, 2020 at 11:02 am

        Great Words! “Focus on the mission over methods.” Thats the ticket! That’s gold!! Thanks so much for your leadership and your willingness to respond! God bless!

      • Cameron on May 15, 2020 at 5:59 pm

        Good article to keep us visioning for future. I agree with digital shift you mentioned maybe not to level of digital church with physical expression but pretty close. We’re encouraging leaders to not stick with same digital platforms but improve them. When we can meet in person again we want pretty much all arras to include a quality digital expression. Our main thing is let’s learn from this time and use benefits of technology to build more diverse teams. We’re excited that those who couldn’t be on some teams because of requirements for some meetings will be able to of we keep online meetings going together with in-person ones. We’re also encouraging investment in hardware to make digital experience better like conference cameras and mics Tha automatically zoom and mute background noise to improve zoom type connections.

        Our biggest challenge is engaging with our kids. Many parents will connect online but let kids just play and don’t make effort for kids to connect online (especially if kids need to use parents computer). We’re launching a whole lot of engagement ideas but still big challenge. Where we live schools are back and little social distancing rules exist in school so hard to reach kids when at church we can’t meet, have gatherings of more than 10. Would love some post on engaging younger generations as one strange outcome we’ve found is our older congregation are longing for connection and learning and investing in technology to connect but our younger ones who have the skills and technology are not really engaging.

  14. Cheryl on May 15, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Thank you for your timely wisdom!

  15. Robert Blankenship on May 15, 2020 at 10:20 am

    I am quite ready, enthusiastic even, to embrace and work toward something new. I fear, though, that my congregants may not. With everything else in their lives being disrupted, I fear they will hope that church is the one thing they can return to where everything is just as it was before the pandemic.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 15, 2020 at 10:53 am

      Robert…a lot of truth to that. Which is why this next season requires leadership.

      • Robert Blankenship on May 15, 2020 at 12:33 pm

        I pray that God will enable me for the task.

  16. Dawn on May 15, 2020 at 9:56 am

    A great post. I would like to share with my leaders. Is there a way to cut down on the number of pages that need to be printed out (26!!!). The pictures and stand outs take up a lot of space. Thanks!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 15, 2020 at 10:03 am

      That’s a lot pages. Sorry, we don’t have a PDF option for this post. Glad you find it helpful though!

      • Tom Rich on May 15, 2020 at 10:56 am

        But I thought the point was to be agile? 😉😄

  17. Mark on May 15, 2020 at 9:53 am

    Don’t poll if you don’t plan to do something with the data and refuse to release it in aggregate. People will give you advice but expect that you somehow use it.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 15, 2020 at 10:04 am

      That’s a tension to manage for sure. There’s very little downside in knowing the answers to the questions in the poll thought. Knowledge is your friend.

      • Mark on May 15, 2020 at 5:25 pm

        The downside is if you did nothing beneficial with the data you had, like failing to call the fire service if you know the building is burning.

        • Natacha on May 16, 2020 at 10:53 am

          Thank you so much Carey for this article.

          I work for what’s considered a mega Church and our Executive Team had a meeting last Thursday on reentry and the topic of surveying the congregation to gauge their level of interest and level of expectation as we prepare to go back and so I fully agree that it is important not only to survey the congregation, but also to make the congregation feel as if they are part of the plan by asking the questions and allowing them one or maybe two open ended questions to allow them to express their thoughts on a poignant and specific area pertaining to reentry that is pertinent to your mission.

          Hence, one key way to making the data gathered in the survey useful is communicating and being transparent with your church leadership.

          By the way we have moved most if not all of our ministries online with great success—from Small Groups to Children/teen ministries to marriage counseling, etc. and it is working beautifully as we continue to care for our communities online and look to transition to not only physical “new normal” but also continuing our online care to embrace all attendees as you mention in your article Carey.

  18. Jed on May 15, 2020 at 9:35 am

    Super strong, Carey, and very timely! Thank you for keeping us on the edge of our leadership seats.

  19. Mike Washburn on May 15, 2020 at 9:32 am

    Very good post. I am totally on board with being all in with the new normal…but my heart still grieves some of the “old normal” as well. It may take some time to process that

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 15, 2020 at 10:05 am

      I think that’s a very astute observation Mike. We’re all grieving what was. It just doesn’t exist anymore.

  20. Dave Adams on May 15, 2020 at 9:10 am

    Excellent post, great practical advice and good insights

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 15, 2020 at 10:05 am

      Thanks Dave!

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