Many church consultants say that we will see a decrease in physical church attendance after the pandemic. It is what had been already happening but has accelerated during the pandemic. It is not just the fear of the virus. We see a significant change in modern people’s way of thinking and behaviours, affecting how they relate to their faith and faith-related activities.
At first, as a pastor, it worried me, but soon I realized this was a blessing in disguise. Why? Because the church was never about attendance. Because the church is not a building you enter, but a gathering of people to move the mission of Jesus together. So it is a beautiful opportunity to rethink “attendance.” Attendance has always been a personal choice but more so now than ever.
One pastor said, “engagement is the new attendance.” I agree church will increasingly become less about what “we experience” but what “we contribute.” Don’t get me wrong. Our team leaders are working hard to create the best worship experience for our members and non-Christian friends. There is nothing wrong with just attending. We are glad to have people in attendance every week. We are also not forcing people to serve.
But those who are engaged in mission, and coming to church to serve, will be far more likely to attend more often in person. That is why our recommendation is “one person, one ministry” in both Sunday service and House Church.
The current situation highlights the words of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” It doesn’t mean receiving is terrible. But it means that there is a unique and better experience reserved for those who give. In other words, there is a better way to experience church life. That is to give. To contribute. To engage.
So, if you want a fuller church experience, consider adjusting your approach before coming to church or coming to house church: “What can I contribute today?” “Who can I encourage today?” “Who can I help today?” Jesus famously said that he came “not to be served, but to serve.” It is the life-changing attitude of every Jesus follower.