Your Church Has Changed: Rebuilding Church and Mission Post-COVID-19
For me, there is nothing better than seeing a church filled to capacity with hundreds of people gathered together in worship, encountering God. Yet when COVID-19 hit, as the title of Peter Roennfeldt’s new book highlights, church changed. Your Church Has Changed helps church members and leaders alike wrestle with the fact that things are different now. Pointing back to Scripture and the early church, this new book offers suggestions of what church can look like moving forward in the advancement of His mission.
At the beginning of the pandemic with churches closed, it was common to hear the phrase, “the church has left the building.” But what did this actually mean? For Dr Roennfeldt, “being thrust into the time of COVID-19, with believers scattered into their households, exposed a biblical truth that neither local churches nor denominations can continue to overlook.”
One of the great contributions of this book is the idea of “households of faith.” This great use of terminology sees the church being in people’s homes—old and young, singles and families, couples and extended families—as something that is to be fostered as the “this basic unit of church and . . . God’s mission.”
Your Church Has Changed argues that “households of faith” puts the church back where it belongs, in the hands of all believers. One example highlighted is that of the Lord’s Supper. Health restrictions have made it difficult to celebrate Communion in the traditional Adventist sense as a full congregation, yet households can have continue to share this on a regular basis during this trying time. I have always been a passionate exponent of the local church, and with this model was challenged with the thought that the “local church is more local than we had realised.” While more needs to be said about what this could look like with intergenerational worship, training and support, the final chapter offers a hybrid model of using both our church buildings for worship services, alongside households of faith.
In short, Your Church has Changed is a useful, thought-provoking and challenging read that can help pastors, church leaders and “households of faith” navigate the new waters we find ourselves in.
Your Church Has Changed and other books by Peter Roennfeldt are available from Adventist bookshops in Australia and New Zealand, or online at <https://adventistbookcentre.com.au/catalogsearch/result/?cat=0&q=Peter+Roennfeldt>.
Travis Manners is the lead pastor at Morphett Vale Church, South Australia.