Shifting the Church: Adapting to New Church Models


The simple church model may no longer be effective in our new reality.

Change: Simple church may no longer be effective in a changing environment.

Shift: Churches need to shift from simple-models to hybrid-models of church.

We’ve all heard the saying you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But new tricks—structures and strategies—must be learned if churches want to be effective in this new era.

Years ago, Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger wrote Simple Church. I devoured that book. It became my mantra and my model that I sought to implement in the churches I served. For the most part, I have seen many churches adopt some simple form of ministry and mission. For instance, very few churches have the traditional (more complex) structures of church—Sunday morning bible study and worship, Sunday evening discipleship training union and worship, Tuesday visitation, Wednesday night agape meal and prayer meeting.

Beyond the scope of their book, there are other “simple” models that the church enacts that I believe will need to be reimagined. First, most churches have a simple model when it comes to corporate worship—even if they do multiple weekend gatherings. Second, most churches have a simple model when it comes to funding ministry and mission—solely through tithes and offerings. Third, most churches have a simple model when it comes to reaching new people—“invite them to church.”

Given COVID-19 and the future being expedited, the shift churches should make is to navigate away from simple models of ministry and mission and more to hybrid models of ministry and mission.

What does that look like?

First, churches may want to consider going to multiple kinds of teaching environments.

We know COVID-19 basically scattered the church during lockdowns, …

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