How to re-connect with regular members who have not come to services over the last 18 months.
This is a difficult question with no answer. Over the last 18 months churches have been using different means of going online, but now that we are starting more and more to worship in buildings we have a problem, how do we reconnect to those people who were not able to get to online meetings. Not everyone has an internet connection, and of those who do not everyone likes using Zoom, You Tube or Facebook or whatever software you have been using.
Of all the Images I have found, I like this one, from Windsor District Baptist Church, the best. The words, “We missed you,” put it in context that it is the people who make up the congregation, and not the church as an institution who are important. J. B. Phillips paraphrased Romans 12:2 as, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould,” it is important that the church does not try squeezing people into it’s mould, Jesus wants all types of people not just our kind of people, whatever our kind of people means.
There are no simple solutions. There are no two groups of people, those waiting to come back but with no way of finding out and those unwilling to come back for their own safety. It’s not that there are a range of views between this, there are so many views that any approach based on statistics is likely to be flawed. The only way I can see is to know your people and get alongside them, even those whose people whose position we cannot understand. My position is that I cannot understand anyone who wishes to ignore scientific advice and not be vaccinated and yet want to mix with vulnerable people. People have the freedom to refuse vaccination, but I cannot see how this is consistent with the Biblical command to love our neighbour as ourselves. But even here we have to be with those we disagree with.
How we go forward depends on the people we have, Jesus came for all people. We are not given the freedom to decide who to leave behind.