Three Responses to Church Attendance Once the Pandemic Is Over
A harsh reality has unfolded
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a harsh reality regarding the body of Christ. Sheltering in place and bans on large gatherings has halted church attendance. Many ministries across the land were already experiencing decreasing attendees each week due to a variety of reasons. Once the coronavirus restrictions are lifted, pastors must deal with the crisis at hand because church attendance as it once was is over. Ministry, as it has previously been presented, in certain segments of Christianity will no longer work because the eyes of the saints have been enlightened. The promises of a due season of prosperity went down the tube with the economy when nonessential businesses had to close. Many of them will not be in a position to reopen and with them go the income of churchgoers, from where they derived their tithes and offerings.
Pastors should have been teaching their congregants to reply on the Lord in every situation, instead of promising them that if they gave money, they would never experience lack. The current situation has caused the finances of many faithful givers to take a turn for the worse and they will no longer fall for the false promises that the Lord did not fulfill. This along with other issues has brought about a shift, and the impact will be felt strongly in American churches. I believe that parishioners will respond in three different ways once things get a little better and spiritual leaders should brace themselves for big fallout. This is not negativity or coming against the organized church. This is facing facts regarding the situation at hand and it's not pretty.
Church as usual
Anyone who has attended a specific church for a long period of time knows that there is always the faithful few. These individuals will attend services in all kinds of weather and during sickness and death. They will give their last dollar to keep the doors open and can always be depended on. For such Christians, life after the pandemic will be business as usual. They will return to their usual seats in the sanctuary and serve the Lord faithfully in their area of ministry as they did before all the chaos. Likewise, those who believe that their body is His temple and that church attendance is not a necessity will continue in that vein as well. These individuals are rooted and grounded in their faith outside of the organized services. They will carry on after the pandemic, just as they did before and during. Neither of these groups will be phased by recent events. They have in common a love for Christ but simply express it in different ways.
A flood of people through the doors if the building
Crisis Christians may flood through the doors of the church as they did after 911. These believers tend to be lax in their daily walk but will move quickly in a crisis. This causes me to reflect on the scene in The Wizard of Oz when the wicked witch of the west, wrote in the sky, "Surrender Dorothy." The people of Oz panicked and began running and shouting for the wizard because they thought he had all of the answers. Some believers in Christ will run to the church building, seeking answers from the pulpit without first seeking the Lord for themselves. Eventually, they will fall away, until the next crisis. There may be a few who truly repent, and purpose to serve the Lord more faithfully within a congregation but history has taught us that the majority will fall away until trouble comes again.
A remnant who will never return
Sadly, the pastors who began having online services and teleconference prayer may have shot themselves in the foot. Once they are preaching from the pulpit again, some of their members may never return, for two specific reasons. Some of these individuals will have enjoyed watching sermons in their pajama's and not having to go out of the house. Once their personal pastor is no longer offering online services and or teleconference calls, these Christians will find another ministry that does and stick with it. Now that they have been introduced to this model of church service, they will continue to use it, rather than go back to a building."
The second group of believers in Christ will reflect upon the fact that the Lord kept them safe from the coronavirus and other trials, in spite of their not worshipping in a building, These Christians will observe that God did not punish them or allow bad things to happen just because they were not attending service and tithing. Let me insert here that buildings need to be maintained, physically and financially. This article is not bashing preachers and church attendance. It is not an attempt to keep anyone from giving. The purpose is to shed light on an element of spiritual abuse and how it now will backfire on those who teach it.
In certain denominations, congregants hear every single service that they must do three specific things. 1. Attend every service, 2. tithe, 3. Sow seeds to the pastor. This message is constantly reinforced to the point that some believers are apprehensive about missing service or not being able to give their finances. The pastors who teach this strongly imply that not doing these three things will bring financial catastrophe and cause an individual to be outside the will of God where bad things happen. Once this pandemic is over, there will be Christians who realize that in spite of the fact that they were unable to attend services and give money, the Lord did not smite them. They will see those bad things did not happen and anger over the false teaching will keep them away from the building. They may also encounter other believers who no longer attend church, yet are thriving and exhibit the glory of the Lord surrounding them. It is unfortunate that the wolves in sheep clothing have caused things to be hard for those shepherds truly doing the Lord's will.
Do you believe organized church services are necessary for a walk with Christ?
Revelation of truth
A growing number of modern-day believers have been quietly decreasing church attendance all along. These Christians follow the book of Acts where the first Apostles and followers of Christ went into all the world and preached the gospel and had great power and His grace with them. Initially, new believers tried talking about Jesus in the temple but the Jews who were strick on obeying the law ran them off. In addition to these changing views about church attendance, we must take into account that many Americans have had a drastic change in their finances. There are already wolves in sheep clothing begging people to give their stimulus checks to struggling ministries, rather than pay bills or feed their families.
On the flip side, we have believers who are so set in their traditions they are moving along without a break. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with posts implying that when the pandemic is over, the faithful will receive a financial reward from the Lord. Conferences and convocations are being promoted for late spring and summer when we don't even know if these gatherings will be allowed. "We are coming out," we are going up, we gonna get our stuff" continues to prevail as if this recent tragic situation has taught some believers nothing. All of these things working together, will determine the future of the body of Christ. The lies and manipulation, misquoting scripture, and wolves in sheep clothing have left a bad taste in the mouth of a majority of saints. Along with the COVID-19 crisis, and Internet church I have no doubt we will see the three scenarios I mentioned play out. Time will tell which one will prevail, but in my humble opinion, it's not looking good for organized services.
Will you go back to church or stay away
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Cheryl E Preston