Barna webinar recap—3 tensions facing pastors this Easter

April 11, 2022

           

Easter is an exciting time full of hope, celebration, and fellowship. At the same time, pastors are facing unique challenges and opportunities as they balance in-person and digital ministry. 

Recently, our team partnered with Barna to offer a free webinar focused on helping churches lead with greater impact through this crucial season. Plus, special guests Dr. Heather Thompson Day (author, professor, public speaker) and Dave Adamson (pastor and author) joined to share practical tips about reaching people online and engaging Gen Z this Easter and beyond. 

If you’re a pastor facing these challenges, this webinar is for you! Let’s dive into these three tensions and see how you can get the support you need, move forward with renewed vision, and better engage your church community and reach more people with the good news of the gospel this Easter!

       

Last year, 38% of pastors considered quitting full-time ministry, which was up from 29% the year before. If you’re a pastor facing the challenges of rebuilding your church’s in-person gatherings and attempting to engage your community online, you’re probably asking yourself important questions about your calling and vocation.

Here are some practical steps to help you assess what really matters, get the support you need, and increase the impact of your work.

Start assessing what really matters

Evaluate your own well-being

As a pastor, your mental health is at a greater risk than any other time in recent history. It’s important to ask for help, get counseling, or seek support from other pastors or pastoral coaching specialists. It’s vital for you to be in a healthy state of being so that you can have the longevity and resilience for ongoing ministry.

Lean into your team

Pastors today are shouldering far too many responsibilities—especially when it comes to managing digital technology. You can’t do everything on your own. If you’re fortunate enough to have a staff or team of volunteers, meet with them to determine what is essential, and ask them to help with the heavy lifting. If you’re running solo in leading your ministry, it’s still possible to reach out to other pastors and ask for them (or perhaps some of their volunteers) to help.

Listen to your people

While it’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of ministry, at the end of the day, God called you to be pastor, not a manager. That’s why listening is essential for getting back to the heart of ministry. Whether it’s sending out a survey for feedback, or sitting down for a one-on-one conversation over coffee, hearing from your people allows you to focus on the right things and to see opportunities to help them grow spiritually in each season.

       

   

For most states across the country, previous restrictions have been lifted and churches are gearing up more in-person attendance. This change may cause you to wonder whether or not to continue investing time and money into your digital engagement tools. 

It’s important to know that technology has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives. We’re used to going online to communicate, shop, and perform daily tasks. These don’t replace connecting with people face-to-face, but rather, they enhance and complement those encounters. 

Barna’s recent research shows that people feel similarly towards technology and the Church:

  • 60% of churched adults hope that churches keep using digital means of gathering together
  • 52% say that primarily physical services best suit their post-pandemic lives.

So, what’s a good plan for moving forward?

Commit to a hybrid strategy

First, form a “theology of technology”

Technology has furthered the mission of the Church from the very beginning—the disciples with the Roman Roads, Martin Luther with the Gutenberg press, and Billy Graham with radio and television. The way that you view and implement technology ends up shaping the disciples that you make. It’s no longer an option to not use technology, and we shouldn’t approach technology thoughtlessly. This time is a good opportunity to form a theology of technology to inform how you use those tools to disciple your people. 

Next, get the right tools in place

The reality is that your tools shape your ministry. The tools you select should assist you in discipling your people. A good starting point for choosing the right tools is to ask questions like, “What are the activities of a disciple? How do they participate? How do they grow?” Look for the best tools to support those efforts.

Finally, prepare for continuous change

The world is constantly changing and can seem overwhelmingly complex. That’s why it’s important to keep it simple—complexity doesn’t scale. The key to thriving in states of continual change is to have your theology of technology in place (with your core beliefs and convictions), as well as the right tools that are adaptable to your current context and season. When change comes, these make it much easier to be resilient and adapt.

       

       

   

People today need something deeper than a good message and a show. Easter is just one day of the year, so how do we create ongoing momentum? 

Stay focused on the hope of the gospel

Remind yourself & remind your people

The Good News is still good. Whether it's one-on-one counseling, leading a small group, or preaching on Sunday, you have an opportunity to remind the people in your church that there are things that are supremely and eternally important, significant, and good.

Take a risk & try something new

Test, iterate, and learn from others. Seasons of change often lead to seasons of renewal and revival. Remember that you're loved by God, known by God, and he's with you. When you trust him and realize that your church is going to grow because of him and not because of you, you can begin to take calculated risks to try something new to reach more people and grow their faith in Jesus.

Stay focused on saving the lost

…and not simply filling empty seats. This ties back to the first tension mentioned earlier: Assessing what matters most. At the end of the day, there are still a lot of lost people out there who need Jesus. Instead of measuring how well your church is doing by the number of seats that are filled, stay focused on the bigger goal of saving lost people. 

Remember the words of the Apostle Paul: “Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12

Download your free Easter ebook resource today

As a pastor trying to balance the tensions between in-person and online church services, you’re facing questions like “What is a hybrid service?” and “Why are they important?”

We believe that the truth of Jesus through the life of the local church is the greatest source of hope and joy for humanity. Offering our free ebook, “How to Run a Successful Hybrid Easter Service” is just one of the ways that we try to help you take that hope and joy to the world.

Download your free copy today!

       

   

Are you ready to discover how your church can adopt the latest tools to reach more people and make better disciples?  Contact us today!

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