The Covid-19 pandemic has been probably the most disruptive event for the church since WWII and has compelled Christian leaders to re-evaluate their mindsets and their practices.
Wayne Sutton, senior pastor of Carrubbers Christian Centre in Edinburgh, says Covid-19 helped refocus questions of community within his church and in the first weeks of the pandemic, his church was like many others, scrambling to find a way to do and to be church effectively.
“We knew we had a week to get things online, so we just recorded the sermons from home,” he recalls.
“Our wake-up call came when we realised people missed feeling like a family”
“After a few weeks, our music team began recording items for a service playlist and our kids’ teams created a fantastic programme with teaching, songs and fun weekly challenges.
“Later, we fine-tuned our live-streaming process, along with others in our EoSGP (East of Scotland Gospel Partnership).
“Yet, our wake-up call came when we realised people missed feeling like a family. With activities at different times across the week, they missed the togetherness of our community, so we asked everyone to join the morning livestream and then for the house groups to meet directly afterwards on Zoom.
“There’s only been one or two brief periods when restrictions prevented us from going outside – we could usually meet in pairs outside – so we’ve tried to maximise on that and in one sense, church has become more intimate, more family-like and inclusive.”
Now, as he works towards the goal of gathering together in church each week again, Wayne says it will be important for churches to be more intentional and proactive and to remember “mission is sharing Christ and our life of faith”.
“Every service uploaded is a mission opportunity and anyone can now use Christianity Explored online,” he says. “We’re using some of the same digital tools as before, but in a different way and how it helps us to have better contact with our gospel workers, like those serving with SIM UK.
“We’re looking at how to keep the intimacy of smaller gatherings when the church can regroup; how the church can unpack the sermon together in house groups directly after the service and how to invite everyone back sensitively.
“Covid has been a profound wake-up for us and over the year, we’ve found our focus shifting and the key questions now are about: How do we actually want to do church?”
By Joanne C
- With Carrubbers Christian Centre as it continues to move forward together in the post-Covid season.
- For wisdom as church leaders consider how best to adapt in different times.
- For churches to hold out hope and peace and help people draw closer to God.