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Forced Out: Ministry without Buildings

By John Muzyka

In 2017, I wrote an article, “The Church is Not the Building So You Do Not Need One.” Today in 2020, churches across America cannot use the buildings they have. Whether it is a church with a building they built or a church renting in a school or theater, the church cannot gather in person right now. We are in the midst of a real experience that is showing all of us that the church is the people and not a building.

Amid the crisis, we are finding out how the church can be the church, while not physically gathering. We use the words “social distancing,” but we are actually “physically distancing.” We can still connect socially on FaceTime, Zoom, and Facebook Live. The church is finding new opportunities to connect with people. 

While our physical gatherings have been prohibited, the work of ministry has not slowed. In many cases, the church is stepping up and serving its people and those in need to a higher level than at any time before. Pastors and church leaders are connecting with their people online intentionally every day. The world is looking to the Church for answers in this season. 

Here are just a few examples.

  •  Churches with an average attendance of 1,000 have seen online viewership of 8,000.
  •  Church staff are making phone calls and texts to all members to check on their needs.
  •  Churches that have never streamed a service are now streaming. Media ministry volunteers are working more than they ever have to seize the opportunity to send the Gospel out through media and online services.

Ministry has not stopped. The doors of the buildings may be shut but people are still advancing the cause of Christ. Is this a new normal that we can sit back and watch? Absolutely not. The reality is while ministry opportunities are on the increase, many churches are seeing a decrease in giving. I have heard of churches with 70-80% reduction in tithes and offerings. We must double our efforts to communicate what we are doing and call on the Church to join us in the mission to serve others. Many people will donate to organizations that are serving those in need, and we need our own people to see the Church serving those in need.

How can we maximize the ministry opportunity during this crisis?

  1.     Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

In real estate, you have heard the phrase “Location, location, location.” In this season, we must make sure the message is clear and that it is repeated on multiple platforms so that there is no doubt how we are ministering to others.

  1.     Prayer Gatherings 

Call the church to pray. Model it and make it available online on a regular basis.

  1.     Giving Options

Continue to develop online giving options and provide people opportunities to give. 

  1.     Prepare for the future

At some date, we will return to physical gatherings. At that time, schools and theaters may be slow to let churches back in their spaces. Or they may be more eager to bring in income. Only time will tell. Churches that own buildings will need to consider if they will continue online services or shut down to encourage people to gather in person. Leadership is critical today as we navigate the next steps.

Be encouraged that people are watching and following. You may be preaching to an empty room, but do not be dismayed. The seeds we are planting will reap a great harvest. In this season, stay faithful, innovate, and lead with passion. This too shall pass, and all the glory will be given to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Muzyka

John Muzyka (@JohnMuzyka) serves as a Senior Director at Church Realty in Plano Texas since 2006. John serves churches as they sell excess property for commercial use, sell existing church facilities, purchase buildings to convert to church use, purchase land, and lease space for church plants. John specifically focuses on serving church plants and multisite churches as they pursue facilities to launch new churches and campuses. John assists the church by identifying options, defining market areas, and counting the cost of the options as they seek to address their ministry and facility needs. Simply put, John helps church translate their mission, vision, and values into a real estate strategy. John currently resides in Frisco, Texas with his wife and two sons. www.churchrealty.com

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