During this pandemic period, many pastors are facing difficulties they have never experienced before. Desiring to be faith-filled and optimistic, many predicted the problems caused by COVID-19 would be short lived and that by now life would have returned to normal. But that has not proven to be true. The protracted duration of the coronavirus crisis has caused the optimism of many leaders to fade significantly.
Indeed, according to the Barna Group, the number of pastors who believe their church will grow after the pandemic has dipped to 13 percent from a high of 34 percent. However, 33 percent see it being the same, and 49 percent believe it will be lower.
Questions without answers abound! Here are just a few.
Will there be a return to normal? What will the new normal look like? What will we learn from this experience and how will it inform and shape our actions in the future? Will effective churches be onsite or online or a combination of both?
There is so much we do not know about the future of the church. But there is something we do know.
“And I tell you . . . I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18 ESV).
Christ is the Builder of the church. The template of the first century church was initiated by Christ and has survived since the day of Pentecost. Regardless of how difficult the trials are, the church will survive and thrive.
The PCCNA Acts 2 Church Health Commission has adopted a template that originated in Acts 2, titled the “Acts 2 Journey Initiative.” The process began with a promise in Acts 1:8. A powerful encounter was experienced in Acts 2:4. Following their observations of the upper room experience, inquiring spectators asked, “What does this mean?” Responding to their question, Peter, anointed by the Holy Spirit, preached a dynamic message, resulting in 3,000 people experiencing salvation and water baptism.
If your church grew from 120 to 3,120 in one day, what would you do? What activities would be necessary to preserve the new converts and help them become disciples who make disciples?
Luke outlined how the newly formed church should function in Acts 2:42–47. Most everyone derives five necessary activities the first century church engaged in: evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, gift-oriented ministry, and worship. When these are active and in proper alignment, the church becomes vibrant, healthy and missionally effective.
After leading hundreds of churches through the Acts 2 Journey (the process of solidifying a church’s mission, vision, values, and strategic plan), we have discovered several important things.
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The Acts 2 Church Survey is a fully validated church health survey for Spirit-Empowered local churches. Focusing on twelve church health factors, the survey can help you to identify your church’s strengths and challenges in order to pursue the best paths to greater ministry effectiveness.