The Post-Quarantine Church: Six Urgent Challenges and Opportunities That Will Determine the Future of Your Congregation
AUTHOR: Thom S. Rainer
PUBLISHER: Tyndale Momentum
FORMAT: Hardcover; ebook
After almost a year of dealing with the realities of COVID-19, many have encouraged themselves with the anticipation of an eventual return to normal. In The Post-Quarantine Church, Thom Rainer dispels such expectations, insisting one cannot return to a world that no longer exists. Rather than painting a bleak, defeatist picture of obstruction and futility in ministry, however, Rainer declares that the “post-quarantine era is an opportunity to make the necessary positive changes to move our churches forward.”
This concise treatment (about 100 pages) is filled with several sensible suggestions based on the experiences and applications of congregations Rainer has served as a pastor and church consultant. The book emphasizes a congregation’s outward focus, provoking readers to think creatively in their own contexts as they are exposed to ideas other churches have implemented. Congregations are prompted to reconsider the model of the “neighborhood church”—one that is more conscious of and responsive to the immediate needs of its surrounding community—even as new priorities of increasing digital presence and proficiency are emphasized. If you as a church leader are struggling to conceive of how the gospel mandate can be effectively carried out with the challenges of social distancing, limited building capacities, and people’s changing sensibilities, The Post-Quarantine Church provides suggestions that are both out-of-the-box and achievable for congregations of varying sizes and resources.
That’s not to say that Rainer overlooks the fellowship of the saints. A congregation’s health and connectivity rely on relationships and shared activity, and this reasoning is affirmed and encouraged with simple yet practical examples. An entire chapter of the book is devoted to “[Taking] Prayer to a New and Powerful Level.” Increased attention to corporate and personal prayer has been an encouraging development in many congregations during this pandemic, and Rainer highlights several positive examples of how such efforts have been enhanced through the harnessing of technology and a conscious effort to maintain and increase its prominence in congregational life.
The Post-Quarantine Church is targeted at pastors and leaders, and, because of its succinct nature, it does not seek to challenge readers on the finer points of ecclesiology, discipleship, or Bible exposition. However, those grounded in good theology and committed to faithful service will find Rainer’s contribution a welcome source of ideas, offering needed incentive to serve more efficiently and effectively in a world where the rules have changed. Surrounded by the fluctuations of this new normal, churches must maintain an unwavering commitment to make disciples. This book will be a useful tool for prompting congregations to execute that mission and exalt Jesus Christ.
—Greg Linscott is senior pastor of Brown Street Baptist Church, Alton, Illinois, and a member of the GARBC Council of Eighteen