Inspiring Generosity


Church is Not “Cancelled”

                        What message are you sending? AlanDavidRobb@pixabay

Annnnnnd we’re back for what feels like week 25.6 of the coronavirus shakedown. Amirite? Is the dog hiding from you because you want to take the poor thing out for its fifth walk of the day? Does the cat continue to look disdainfully at you for invading her space?

Most importantly, did you survive a Holy Week unlike any Holy Week you’ve experienced? I’m assuming you did. Hooray! Way to go! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Now, that’s Good News.

Here we are the week after…figuring out what it means to be Easter people doing ministry during a self-isolating pandemic.
I can tell what it’s not.
An astute reader led me to a website of a Church-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named. The very modern font and brightly colored headline literally screamed in all caps: “ALL WORSHIP SERVICES CANCELLED AND CHURCH BUILDINGS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.” And as if to punctuate the previous message – and still above the fold –
“Welcome to our community!
Worship Sundays at 11am”
OK. We get it. Church services are cancelled. But the bigger question is:
What are you doing to be church NOW? That’s what needs to be on your website.
Figuring out what you’re doing to be the church in this new era is a critical question to answer. You want to be communicating to your congregation and to the world that church doesn’t stop just because you can’t worship in person for an hour a week.
Remember all my chatter about how you’re being challenged to be a speed boat? Take a moment to articulate what you’ve done in the last five weeks (and give yourself a pat on the back):

  • How have you met the needs of your congregation?
  • How are reaching out to the most isolated?  
  • How have you done new worship? (BTW, if you don’t have the resources to do a technology-based worship yourself, find another congregation who has that you can partner with)
  • How are you reaching out into the community?
  • How are you building community?

This is the basis of the new story that needs to be told on your website and to your congregation.
This is not the first time that people of faith have faced dark times (lest we forget Holy Week). But…

The church is still relevant. Jesus is still relevant. The Word is still relevant. And in these seemingly endless days, that is the Good News that needs to be shared with the world. People need to hear the message of hope, and it’s definitely not some Pollyanna pablum. The Gospel story is the Easter story. Of miracles. Of life turned upside down. Of love. Of resurrection. Of new life. It’s a story that still needs to be told.
No indeed, church is not “cancelled.” Its new doors are being flung wide open. And how exciting and scary…you get to be a part of it.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. While not quite like the Hallelujah Chorus by the Royal Choral Society, I Am covered by Salem’s Micah Band is pretty darned good. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.com

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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.