From the Interim Executive,

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what the post-pandemic church will look like, particularly with respect to the virtual/electronic nature of our ministries that has been necessary since March of 2020. Will congregations go “back to normal” (pre-pandemic patterns of all face-to-face ministry) or is virtual here to stay?

I am grateful that the Presbyterian Outlook published a long piece I wrote on this topic in its July 13, 2021 edition: “The Post Pandemic Church in the Great Virtuality.” You can read it here.

A quick summary of the article is that the church’ usage of technology will be similar to society’s and individual’s use of technology: one a new innovation is introduced, it almost inevitably gains more usage rather than less. Whether we are talking about the printing press, moving pictures, the internet, or texting, entrenched technologies tend to stick around until something better (more technologically advanced) comes along.

For congregations, this means that worship services and other ministries broadcast over the internet are here to stay for thriving churches, even while we also gather in person. The most vibrant churches will think about themselves as both physical and digital hubs for ministry. This has great advantages for our getting the good news out beyond ourselves (think proclamation and evangelism), and real challenges for the intimate relationships so important to the body of Christ.

I’m grateful for the virtual nature of ministry, as it permits the Synod to offer workshops and seminars to be attended by folks throughout our area who would be unlikely to join if they had to physically come. AND I am thankful that I was able to attend a Detroit presbytery meeting in person last week.

Your partner in ministry,

Rev. Charles B Hardwick, PhD
Interim Executive