As we begin to see the “light at the end” of this pandemic tunnel, many are expressing their longing to “get back to normal” (what was) as others are asking important questions concerning what a new reality might look like. And as with most things, our experience will find us somewhere in the middle. You have likely done some reflection on this, and maybe you have begun to have conversations already. What’s important for any church or organization, at this point, is to be intentional about the conversation and opportunities that present themselves.
We have spent over a year dealing with the realities of this pandemic. It has been a collective experience for us as a society as well as for the whole world. It has also been a personal experience for us all, and those experiences have a wide variety reality. Some have lost loved ones to Covid, some have lost employment, while others have gained from opportunities presented and for many there has been a mixture of both.
It is important for us to take time to reflect upon what has taken place over the past 14 months:
- What have we lost?
- How do we acknowledge the grief of the loss?
- Where might we re-invest our time and energy in the future?
- What blessings have come out of this experience for you personally?
- What new learnings or discoveries have you found in this experience?
- What will you keep from this experience as you move into the future?
- What were the things that you accepted as “normal” before the pandemic that might be better off left in the past…where something new, more beneficial, and life-giving can replace them?
- Are there some newly discovered needs of the people and community around you that you have the ability and resources to meet?
- How will you re-engage the world around you in the future?
As important as these questions, and the contemplation, and conversation that they inspire, are for us as individuals – they are equally important for our organization and communities of faith. If we simply seek to “get back to normal” we will have forfeited this tremendous opportunity. Implementing a process for visioning and planning will help to bring intentionality to the conversation. These questions can be discussed in small groups, one on one conversations and shared for reflection through newsletters or other communications.
Visioning can help bring structure to the discussion and help prioritize direction and opportunities. Being intentional about the conversations will give space for reflection, and will provide the opportunity to create a vision for what the “post-pandemic” future can be.
Scott Jacob, Sr. Program Director
The James Company