LOUISVILLE (KT) – Even with all that has gone wrong with the coronavirus pandemic in the past year, there were a few changes that churches may want to keep.

A panel of Kentucky Baptist pastors and leaders gathered recently for a conversation with Kentucky Today and talked about what has worked well during the pandemic and how some is worth keeping around permanently.  

Zoom meetings: While many church members may have suffering from Zoom overload because of work-at-hone commitments, the idea of having church committee members getting together that way remains something to consider.

“Committee meetings for us are a lot shorter because we’re Zoomin’ them,” said Jeff Crabtree, the pastor of faith development at Hillvue Heights.

The pluses of Zoom meetings include being able to meet from home instead of traveling to church and it becomes mostly business that is discussed which shortenens the meeting to essentials.

Online services: Most churches have enhanced their online presence and, in many cases, have found a new audience. The verdict is still out on the overall effectiveness and the panel suggested that each church should evaluate its online presence to determine if it needs to be continued or even discontinued in some cases.

Online giving: A lot of Kentucky Baptist churches moved to online giving to make it easier for members to tithe without having to be at church because of the virus. It has been a popular tool and may have helped keep many churches afloat.

Churches have set up the online giving and placed boxes in strategic places so members can put in their tithes. But the panel was in agreement that it should be more than that because giving is part of the worship experience and should be treated as such.

“As we bring it back, we may not be able to do it in the way we were doing it, but we can make it an act of worship and focus on that aspect,” David Stokes, the executive director of the Central Kentucky Baptist Network, said. “We still need to make giving an act of worship.”

The Lord’s Supper: The tradition of passing the plate may not return anytime soon or how churches do the Lord’s Supper.

 

Typically, the elders or deacons of the church pass out the elements to the congregation, but this worship practice has been interrupted by the pandemic. But social distancing and virus fears have caused churches to switch to the all-on-one packages with the juice and wafer together, which limits further contact.

Hillvue has taken it a step further when it comes to safety by having the Lord’s Supper be an online experience, Crabtree explained.

Social distancing and masks: The panel said masks and social distancing will likely be with the church into the new future but one area that must not change is finding ways to get the gospel to the masses.

It’s been fairly easy to social distance; however, masks have been a source of worry for some with membership sometimes divided over it. One suggestion was making an area that was mask-only. Even now, some churches have services where masks are required and others where masks are optional.

But taking the gospel out doesn’t have any option.

“We have to figure out a way to evangelize,” Crabtree said.