After the Quarantine, Don’t Forget to CHECK your Church

Posted on 21 June 2020

 

Lord knows I will be one of the first people running back to the sanctuary after I complete my personal shelter-in-place plan. It has been some 12 – 14 weeks since I have been inside of the church house.

Yes, I know the “church” is not confined to a structure, and I know Jesus did most of His work outside of the building. Yes, I get it. I understand the theology in what you are thinking. This is not that post just in case you wanted to check me. Not today.

But I must admit…there is something about being on the inside of church and in fellowship with the saints that I certainly miss.

Please don’t get me wrong. My spirit, mind and body have been fed greatly during the global health crisis. I have thoroughly enjoyed expanding my membership and catching virtual services throughout the week. I love seeing how churches are digging deep and finding new, innovative ways to connect and serve their members (and the world) as we continue social distancing. There are churches who are truly thriving amid this global pandemic and serving people – believers and non-believers – in ways they never dreamed possible.

As I rode in my car this week, I started to mentally make my playlist. You know…my First-Sunday-Back playlist.

Click the links below to sing along with me.  

I also want to hear some good, old school gospel. Maybe something like:

 As I made my playlist, I also thought about now is the time that the church needs me. Yes, me…the Executive Director of the church.

You see, I do a lot of thinking and reflecting. For years, I have told myself that my dream job would be to serve as an Executive Director of a church. You are probably thinking what is a Church Executive Director and what do they do? Well, frankly it is a title I made up in my head several years ago. Basically, I want to run the church. (Side Note: Beyonce’s song Run the World just popped in my head. Random, I know.)

Now, back to what I was saying. I want to organize the church to operate like a cooperation. Meaning, I am not trying make the church overflow with greed and stock options; however, I do believe that functionally the church should have processes, procedures and a strategic plan to help the church operate more effectively and to help the church grow people. In order to grow people, the church must be holistic and have resources in place to meet the total need of the congregation, regardless of the church size. 

As I consider all that is going on in our country today from the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black people to racism and the cries of an unheard people, the Black church needs to be at the front, center and back of the movement that is taken place. However, in many cases, after three months of no in-person gatherings, many of our Black churches are trying to figure out how to survive.

This is why I say you must CHECK your church after the quarantine. If the Black church is not responding right now, it’s not much of a church.

Hear me clearly, I’m not asking you to leave your church, but I do believe we must quickly begin to consider who and what the post-pandemic church will be.

I heard a prominent Pastor say this week, “The blood is on the hands of the Black church because we have never taught mindfulness and meditation. We have only taught interaction. We have taught people how to talk to God but not how to listen to God.”

The physical church campuses are empty. When the people of God return how will your church serve them? Here are some of the areas where I believe the church needs to focus as we come through this current crisis.

Mental Health

There are a number of stressors that impact Black Americans on a daily basis, add on top of that how  Black communities in the United States have been disproportionately affected by the number of coronavirus cases and deaths and at the same time bear witness to the repeated killing of unarmed Black men and women. The church needs to be a catalyst to remove the stigma of mental health and direct people to the needed resources.

Education

Listen! Vacation Bible School can no longer look the same. Thousands of students just sat at home for the last three months and self-guided themselves through the third grade. Add some tutoring to your church summer programs. We can not let our kids get behind.

Personal Financial Education & Economic Development

This is short and to the point. Do you recall Suze Orman telling you that you needed a 3 to 6 months emergency fund? Now, we know why. Financial education and investing in Black businesses are critical.

Social Justice and Political Involvement

The Civil Rights Movement was organized and birth out of the Black church. We cannot be silent as it relates to addressing racism and social injustice. We also need to educate ourselves on voter suppression. Volunteer at the polls. Run for office. Support candidates. Vote in all elections.

Food Pantry

This is the most basic of my thinking. Regardless of the size, every church needs to be prepared to help meet the nutritional needs of the community.

Operations

Run the church like mega-corporations do. Develop a long-range strategic plan. Develop a marketing campaign. Analyze and understand your target audience. Adjust your plan to meet involving needs.

 

Yes, I know this seems like a lot, and I recognize that all churches will not be able to do everything on my Executive Director to-do list. You might not have all the resources as part of your congregational support team. However, the church must be able to partner and direct people to where they can get help – regardless of congregational size.

While I do not know what’s next for our country and the world, one thing remains certain, if we go back to church as usual, we have missed the lesson. God is calling us to a different level. The church represents the best of us. Let us represent the best of God.  

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