We hear so much in the world today about learning to work in a new normal but, those living with Dementia and their families have to do that everyday. As a church there has been panic to learn new technologies and, who isn't fed up of Zoom yet? It's just not a substitute for face to face meeting and done badly a real turn off to people exploring church for the first time. So we're learning fast. With those who are elderly or living with dementia add that they just can't learn this 'new fangled technology' and we have another challenge.
I know churches are struggling and church leaders just want to get something out there but, they need to ensure that the more elderly and, especially those with dementia, aren't dropping off the radar.
Church you are doing an awesome job of reacting and this article is written just as a conscience prod for leaders to say "yes! we're not missing anyone".
This is where I expect you're hoping I'm going to come up with some amazing, insightful new way of doing ministry. A new normal that will be revolutionary.
A good leader knows his or her flock, something that, it seems in some cases, to have slipped down the order of priority in a church focusing on growth, next generation, missional communities, Alpha, Zoom groups, online 24/7 Prayer, high tech delivery. I'm not saying any of this is wrong but to challenge leaders to remain balanced.
Now is the time for the rise of a pastoral heart. Pick up that phone, connect with those that you're not seeing on zoom. Check with the family that they are OK.
When I first came to faith in the early 90's our vicar would just pop around for a cup of tea and a piece of cake. It was not a small church either, as he had a congregation of over 150 on a Sunday morning and I know he didn't just visit us. I know you can't visit people at the moment but, you can pick up the phone. I also know that larger churches have Pastoral Care teams that do this but, I'm telling you there is no substitute for a call from the church leader.
I know Church leaders are busy. My challenge is are you busy on the right things. Don't forget those who are elderly, lonely, struggling with the worst of lockdown and who 'don't want to be a bother' to a church leader. They need you and they need the church more than ever at this time.