It’s pivot time for churches. It’s time to take advantage of opportunities rather than suffer from distresses.
| by Don Corder
Just so we are all on the same page. Covid-19 is a bad thing. Period. Sickness. Death. Quarantine. Closed churches. Masks. Isolation. Evictions. Divorces. Child abuse. Drug abuse. It is all bad. Unemployment is up. The economy is down. By just about any perceivable measure, Covid-19 is bad. And the Church overall suffered devastating effects.
The Church in America has always been an in-person endeavor. While the Church’s power comes from Christ through the Holy Spirit, on earth one of the Church’s greatest resources is relationship and connection which thrives best in-person, face-to-face. Since Covid-19, the Church has been forced to make our way in a virtual world and many churches were not ready.
Once the pandemic started, churches were immediately faced with taking their in-person, face-to-face community and making it virtual. In the first weeks of Covid-19, hundreds of churches called us at The Provisum Group
asking us to help them “get online.” Many of them had no website or social media.
While virtual church will never be as meaningful as in-person ministry, for many people virtual church is becoming the “new normal.” How can poorly equipped churches respond to this?
The average church in America (pre-COVID) gets about 90 people in worship each week and has an annual budget of about $185,000. Most churches don’t have the resources or local talent pool to hire seasoned professionals with decades of church experience to spend on non-ministerial functions.
Churches are often relegated to delegating important business and administrative functions as secondary responsibilities to people who are willing to do the job but often lack the experience, passion, and/or training to perform these secondary functions well.
For example, a worship leader is asked to lead communications for the church. A receptionist is asked to keep the church’s books. A volunteer is asked to develop a website. Many churches choose to “settle” for less than ideal staffing solutions because they see no other choice.
Most ministry jobs are best done face-to-face. Running a children’s ministry is very difficult to do virtually. We certainly cannot clean and maintain the church building via Zoom.
Some ministry jobs don’t have to be done on-site. Some church jobs don’t require a physical presence at all. Jobs like accounting, information technology, human resources, communications, web and app development, SEO, and graphic design are all jobs that can be done while never stepping foot on a church campus.
Herein lies the opportunity.
Living in a pandemic has taught the church how to operate virtually. We had to adapt. Most of us had no choice. Living through Covid-19 has shown us we can do it. So why not hire the best people we can, and stop insisting they come to a “church office”?
What’s stopping a church from hiring the best web developer or SEO manager it can afford? Why not hire a communication manager who has helped grow churches all over the country? Why not hire a bookkeeper who understands clergy compensation and designated funding?
I would estimate that most churches probably need a six-figure CFO about two hours a year. So why not hire that CFO for those two hours? But people in your area who are good at what they do usually have jobs. Most do not have experience managing church functions. And yet there are people dotted all over the country who have performed these business and administrative functions for churches for decades. They probably don’t live in your town, but who cares anymore?
A “gig economy” means temporary positions are filled by independent workers for short commitments. The term “gig” was popularized by musicians. Pre-COVID, a “gig economy” was viewed as a failure of the marketplace. Post-COVID, businesses are working virtual more and therefore rethinking their long-term hiring strategies.
One group of people has collectively turned the “gig economy” into an economic opportunity. That is, skilled and experienced administrative and business professionals. Many of these professionals are exchanging expensive metropolitan communities, ten-hour workdays, and two-hour daily commutes for virtual work that can be done anywhere. Given a choice, many professionals find serving causes they are passionate about and living where they want (and can afford) far preferable to their pre-COVID grind.
I think it is pivot time for churches. It’s time to take advantage of opportunities rather than suffer from distresses. Think about it. Would you rather hire a skilled and experienced professional who is passionate about the cause of Christ? Or a skilled worship leader who has to conduct various duties for which he or she has little experience and less passion? The latter is a recipe for burn-out and turnover.
Skilled and seasoned professionals who love the Church and have passion for Christ’s cause are out there. They have the skills and experience to successfully navigate the administrative and business challenges your church or ministry is facing. Finding them takes some out-of-the-box thinking and a little commitment. But finding the right person could change your ministry forever.
This article was originally published on Don Corder's blog. You can read it at TheProvisumGroup.com
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