Shavon Dion Bethel recently discussed The Future of the Church after COVID-19

Shavon Bethel

April 12, 2021

Shavon Dion Bethel recently discussed The Future of the Church

Shavon Dion Bethel recently discussed The Future of the Church after COVID-19


The government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has forced many changes on churches in the Bahamas.


Among these changes were: 

  1. The closing of all physical church services.
  2. The closing of all ministries and events that involve physical proximity.
  3. The closing of small groups that meet in homes.
  4. Limitations on weddings and funerals.
  5. The social isolation of church members and their families.
  6. The inability to provide physical pastoral care.


Some churches have viewed these limitations as an interruption. They are seen as barriers to the church functioning effectively as God designed it. Some adjustments may have been made to continue to be the church and to serve the community. But these adjustments have never been viewed as substitutes for physical presence and ministry. These churches are waiting for a full relaxation of the restrictions so that the church can return to effective ministry. There are a number of different factors that may lie behind this perspective on the COVID crisis:


  1. It may be a theological view that God’s church needs physical presence. Any other form of relationship or communication is a pale imitation and should not be encouraged (except in extreme circumstances). The result will be less mature Christians.
  2. It may be that the church prizes physical community. People want to be together and don’t see digital relationships as sufficient. They like to see people with needs and new people to the community.


  1. It may be a lack of resources to do anything but physical presence well. Some churches may try hard, but they do physical church much better than online forms of ministry and communication. They rightly want to return to their strengths and gifts.


  1. It may be a lack of skills in the congregation to adapt to other forms of ministry. In particular, older generations don’t generally use technology as easily and naturally as younger generations. Physical church and ministry may be far more effective and greatly preferred in churches with older congregations.


Other churches have viewed these limitations as a disruption. They are seen as God-allowed restrictions that drive us to abandon some old paradigms and experiment with new strategies that will allow the church to minister more effectively in a digital culture. Questions around more extensive use of technology for communication and community have been on the periphery of many churches for years, but this disruption has forced churches to experiment in a more foundational and widespread way and many have found they can be more effective in some areas. These churches want to Of course, most churches in the Bahamas lie somewhere in between the two extremes I have painted. They see COVID-19 as an interruption and are already planning with relief to return to their normal paradigm of church. But they also see aspects of disruption in COVID-19 and will try to keep some of the new skills and strategies they have learned during this time. The journey to their new normal will be challenging with lots of decisions.


Return to the pre-COVID situation will to occur over an extended period. 

  • The number of people who can gather will gradually be increased. It may be many months before groups over 500 can assemble.
  • Social distancing and hygiene is likely to be a high priority for a long time, especially the 1.5m rule and washing hands.
  • Even when restrictions are eased, some people will feel uncomfortable freely socialising.
  • People will have different views on physical contact post-COVID.
  • Decisions about fully reopening church services and ministries will need to be made well ahead of time so people can adjust and plan.