Here you will find some helpful resources to help you think through issues relating to the rebuild phase
“We cannot be content to go back to what was before…there needs to be a resurrection of our common life” Justin Welby
When it came to returning to Jerusalem, Nehemiah was given letters of authority (permission) and the resources to start rebuilding the city walls (Neh 2.7-8). It is written in Luke 14 that Christ when explaining the cost of discipleship, said “which of you, wishing to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost to see if he has the resources to complete it?"
The rebuilding phase is a spiritual journey that is likely to be worked out practically and may be helped by assessing your congregational resources and discovering what needs you can identify in your community that God would like you to meet. A possible starting point would be to ask yourself or your leadership team, or PCC the following questions:-
5 Key questions for leaders and PCCs to consider during the rebuild phase
1. How shall we assess the energy levels and readiness of our church members to use their gifts in the service of God and His church? (Some members may be suffering from low-level mental health issues and may need time and support to adjust to their post-pandemic church. There are plenty of ‘internal’ survey tools below to help you).
2. Can we identify those who were regular church attenders prior to the pandemic but have not returned and what is the best way to approach them? (Be prepared to think imaginatively as a direct approach may not be fruitful. Some members may have felt very lonely during the pandemic and may feel let down by the church - be prepared to repent and say sorry, if necessary!)
3. Can you think of three key priorities to focus your energies on to re-establish church life? (‘Focus’ is likely to be key. Remember that you may be working with fewer resources (people and finances and hence a weaker church than the one you had before the pandemic).
4. What resources do you think you need to seek from outside the parish, i.e. the diocese, other churches, grants, mentors, etc, to begin to re-build? You might find it helpful to have a guided conversation with a colleague who is facing the same challenges as you.
5. What opportunities have you discerned in your community
Church and community audits/profiling
Natural Church Development - 8EQs survey
Possibly the most widely used, best attested and most comprehensive church health tool you can utilise is the Natural Church Development one. This is tried and tested in our diocese and is available on the Healthy churches page. Bear in mind that it is no longer subsidised by the diocese and will cost in the region of £250.
Healthy Church Audit tool
This very useful tool has been produced by the diocese of Blackburn The tool is initially completed by individuals and then responses are collected to give an overall score for the church. It assesses the church against six qualities that research has shown are fundamental to church health and growth and unlike the 8EQs survey it is free. However, it is by no means as comprehensive but it will provide useful insights into congregational health and help leaders to engage in the rebuilding process.
Tear Fund have written a report “The Church Rebooted”
This is a comprehensive report that considers the role of the church in a post-pandemic world. On page 8 you will find several excellent questions that would be good for leadership teams, PCCs or small groups. There is also a call to action to help churches face outwards and avoid becoming too introspective.
Rural Church and Community Audits
The Centre for Rural Mission has produced an excellent A5 booklet to support rural churches that wish to look at the context in which they are working and identify the needs and opportunities for evangelism and/or social action. They provide guidance on asking good questions, presenting your findings and producing an action plan.
Report on the social impact of Covid-19 on churches
This is a report produced by the Joint Public Issues Team and Action Against Poverty (commissioned by various church denominations). This is very helpful for church leadership teams that are wanting to understand and engage in the social issues created by the pandemic.