In Hybrid Church – A Way Forward for Church Leaders, the Rev. Tim Schenck explores the changes that the church has adopted during the pandemic and the effects of these changes. These technological innovations are viewed by some as temporary stopgaps (to be given up when all of this is over), by others as welcome improvements that should be kept.
Whether or not it wanted to be there, the Church stands at a turning point where it must choose how to do church going forward. In Hybrid Church, Tim poses the interesting question of whether a post-pandemic church should be aiming for “resuscitation” or “resurrection.” Resuscitation would mean returning to pre-pandemic structure and programming without the digital technology that helped keep the Church alive during lockdowns. Resurrection would be allowing some old ways to die in order to bring forth a new way of being church. Schenck favors embracing a model of “hybrid church,” which would combine traditional ways of doing things with online/interactive methods. As he says, “I’m increasingly convinced that we must be a church that metaphorically welcomes people in suits and ties in person, and people wearing bathrobes and drinking coffee online.”
This tool is a thoughtful discussion piece to help you present a plan to your parish for what post-pandemic operations could look like. But be prepared. As Tim notes, “Presenting a plan to the parish about what a post-pandemic church will look like that involves some radical rethinking, will inevitably lead to pushback. Some of this will be rooted in grief at what we are giving up as both a society and a church.” We have given up a lot during this pandemic and are probably not done yet. “But,” he continues, “it’s important to stress that we’re doing this to not just survive as a church, but to thrive as a parish spiritually, programmatically, numerically, and financially.”
Hybrid Church is something for your leadership to sit with and digest as they consider how to move forward. Tim thoroughly explains his points and ends each section of the document with helpful questions to reflect on as you create your own path. He concludes, “I do believe that the past year has helped us tap into what really matters in this life – relationships, love, faith, selflessness, art, music, meaning. Perhaps the church will be able to speak into these aspects of our humanity – and share them – in more profound ways than ever before.”
This article is part of the January 2022 Vestry Papers issue on Transformative Tools.
Visit Hybrid Church – A Way Forward for Church Leaders, for more information and a tool to aid discussion.
Reprinted from ECF Vital Practices www.ecfvp.org
ResourcesBack to Contents
- Pandemic Learnings by Audra Abt, Vestry Papers, May 2021
- Digital Ministry Is Here to Stay by Callie Swanlund and Jeremy Tackett, Vestry Papers, March 2021
- The Church Goes to Virtual Burning Man by Brian Baker, Vestry Papers, March 2021
- Virtual Morning Prayer Builds EDS at Union’s Community by Mary Barber, Carl Adair, Joseph O’Rear, Nicole Hanley and Maryann Philbrook, an ECF Vital Practices blog, June 13, 2020
- Home Worship Resources
- Online Worship and Prayer Resources
- COVID-19 Webpage
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