By Interim Bishop Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl

Easter season blessings to you as we continue to live into the meaning of Jesus’ gift of new life for us in these times.

We are much closer to the ‘better days ahead’ than we have been for many months, though still proceeding with caution.

We are leaning into our vaccinated lives, daring to gather with loved ones, and with careful protocols in place, to resume in-person worship. Daffodils and robins are harbingers of the spring season upon us.

What will our lives be like post-Covid? Or at least with Covid protections in place? What will our church look like? Can we see beyond the yearning for ‘everything like it used to be’ and glimpse what God may in fact be calling us to in this time?

In his book, Becoming A Hybrid Church, David Daubert wrote:

… This was not God’s first pandemic, and we are not inventing the first post-pandemic church—just the most recent one. And because the church is ultimately not the church because of human effort but rather it is a work of God—whatever comes of this, the reign of God still lies boldly on the horizon.

(p. 128)

Earlier in 2021 the ELCA launched “The Future Church” design. This may be a good time in the life of your ministry site to explore both a book like Daubert’s, and the information at elca.org about Future Church’s possibilities for congregations and synods. Future Church is not a response to the time of pandemic as Daubert’s book is, but a vision for who we can be, and who we are called to be going forward.    

The Future Church design establishes a common purpose: “To activate each of us so that more people know the way of Jesus and discover community, justice and love.”

Future Church inspires us to be actively pursuing ways to open doors and opportunities for new, younger and more diverse members into our communities of faith in order to share Jesus, and to learn together of God’s call to mission going forward.

What would this look like from where you sit? I encourage you to engage a conversation in your faith community about this design after learning more about it at elca.org

and in this Living Lutheran article: www.livinglutheran.org/2021/03/so-more-people-may-know-the-way-of-jesus.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. The writer evidently is not a member of Bethany ELCA in Elkader, Iowa. Our church is only just starting parking lot-style worship in May. We may not get back into the building for masked, social distance worship unless our building’s ventilation system is evaluated and a new system is purchased and installed. I have asked all the other churches in our community and surrounding towns about having to purchase ventilation systems, and they give me a look like I’m talking crazy. I don’t see our congregation surviving COVID. Members are now visiting other churches looking for new church homes that are worshipping in person. There is no longer a sense of community at Bethany. We won’t have to worry about young, diverse members, because there will no longer be a ELCA church in Elkader.

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.

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