Where do we go from here? A Look Forward Into 2022
By The Rev. Dr. Rick Young, TPF’s President
Recently, I was asked to reflect on my thoughts regarding the changes brought about by the recent pandemic. In preparation, I spent some time with leaders of business, congregations, non-profit organizations, as well as college and seminary Presidents discussing their thoughts and experiences. As we prepare to enter our third season of navigating this minefield, I would like to share what I learned with you in the points below:
- The pandemic has made us think outside of our normal box and inspired creativity. Doing business the same way we always have doesn’t work, and truthfully it hasn’t worked for many years. It was simply comfortable, and we knew how to easily manage it.
- It’s time to rethink who we are and what our mission is. Has our mission changed? Does the world still need our mission? These are the questions filling agendas at Board meetings, session meetings, and corner suites and offices. As you can imagine these are not easy questions to ask much less answer. They make us uncomfortable. Church members and donors are more focused on their own individual impact and purpose, and we should be too.
- Defining church membership is harder than ever. Some pastors are wondering what the definition of church membership is and how to offer resources, pastoral care, etc. to those who join from afar virtually. In-person attendance is far below what we experienced pre-pandemic.
- In general, leaders of churches and nonprofits are struggling with flexibility and change. Our methods of communication and education have been permanently altered. Leaders are feeling the pressure from constituents, employees, and outside forces─and many have decided to resign or retire. Leaders are exhausted, and they are looking for new avenues to revitalize their energy.
- We can’t forget the younger generations. While our younger generations have had a somewhat easier time moving through the pandemic with their prior familiarity and love of all things virtual, their struggle increases as the presence and effects of the pandemic linger. It is critical that we are prepared for the tsunami of mental-health issues lurking around every corner.
Is there hope?
There is always hope, and we must embrace it together.
We are resilient people of courage who can and will work our way to the other side. We have to reconnect, be there for one another, and extend our arms in love. Not an easy way forward but one I firmly believe can be found and implemented. As the leader of TPF, I can confidently say that we are dedicated to making this happen!