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11 Things to Consider When Coming Out of Lockdown

Coming out of lockdown will be much harder than going in to lockdown.

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FIEC National Director John Stevens spoke to local churches in the South West Gospel Partnership in March 2021 to help them think about what to consider as lockdown restrictions are eased.

It’s really encouraging that we're at a point in the unfolding coronavirus virus crisis where we can begin to think about churches reopening.

What follows is my personal perspective which comes partly from my own experience, and partly from talking to lots and lots of pastors. My conviction is that coming out of lockdown is in many ways harder than going into lockdown, and I think this is going to be a process that takes a period of time.

What I want to talk about are the things we need to be thinking about now as we emerge from lockdown. I am conscious that many of the things that I say are probably obvious. You've probably thought about them already. I hope there might be some thoughts that would be helpful to you to take away.

I want to try to bring some theological perspectives and some practical perspectives for leading at a local church level.

I was struck by a report on the radio this morning about the NHS and how it’s going to come down out of lockdown. The point was being made that the NHS can't simply bounce back when the coronavirus crisis is over and people in the report were speaking about the need for staff decompression after the stress and exhaustion that they've experienced over this time. And I think that is going to be true in large measure for our churches as well.

So I hope this is helpful to you as you think about coming out of lockdown and what, as leaders in particular, we need to be doing and need to be thinking about.

So I've got 11 things for us to consider – all of them begin with “Re”.

Regathering

The most important thing for us as we come out of this lockdown is actually regathering the church physically and in person.

There's been lots of debate over this lockdown period of what church is and whether online gatherings can replace church. Honestly, I haven't heard anybody saying that they prefer online to physical gatherings and there is a real desire to want to be able to regather as churches and to come together physically. That's what church ultimately is.

Churches are, of course, open at the moment, so we're able to gather in some measure in our church buildings, but with all sorts of limitations in terms of what we can do. We're looking forward to when we can actually gather without those limitations and be much more what our church is meant to be.

The hope is from 19 July there will be no sort of restrictions on the numbers of people that can meet together indoors or outdoors, but the reality is, it's still going to be a slow process. The slow process of getting back to normal.

I think the big challenge for us as church leaders is that people are only slowly and gradually returning to church and regathering. If we think there's going to suddenly be a point at which everybody is turning up with enthusiasm, I'm not sure that's going to be the case. I've been very struck during this third lockdown at the greater reluctance of some people to come to in-person services.

Even when those have been available, we've found that in our own church here in Market Harborough, and there have been a number of reasons for that. Partly people have been fearful, particularly in January.

But it's also, I think, because people don't particularly enjoy the church experience when you come together. When you can't mingle or talk to others. Wearing face coverings is particularly hard for families with children as it feels like you're not enjoying church.

Parents are having to control the kids in an environment which is very, very difficult for them, and I think people feel that the marginal difference between engaging online and in-person doesn't make it worth going to.

Instead, at home you can watch the service, you can sing, you can talk with one another as an experience. It's much closer, perhaps, to real church, than actually going to an in-person service in constrained circumstances.

It’s been a slower return to in person services at this time round and I think we need to understand people's reluctance.

We did a survey of our church members asking them when they were likely to come back. The members were effectively saying: only when all the restrictions are removed on gathering, mingling, singing, face coverings would they really want to come back to physical gatherings.

As we think about regathering the churches, I think for us as leaders, it's really helpful for us to think that the people that we're going to have gathering with us will essentially be a different congregation. And we're not simply going to pick up where we left off back in last March or even last summer if we were able to have physical services. The reality is it won't be quite the same group of people and the people who come won't be the same people because of what they've experienced over this time.

In particular, there's going to be a high level of relational atrophy within the congregation. I feel that lots of congregation members have kept up their relationships with the main leaders. And they've kept up their relationships, perhaps in their small groups, but they haven't necessarily kept up their relationships across the congregation as a whole. One of the things we're going to have to wrestle with is that relational atrophy: that ability to connect with one another.

Some people, I think inevitably, who were part of our congregations, won't return at all, and they will have perhaps drifted from our church. It will no longer have the place in their life that it had before. Maybe some have moved to another church, maybe some have moved house or are thinking of doing that. Many who are perhaps on the fringe of church might have disappeared.

Of course, here, as ministers, it's worth reflecting on Jesus’ parable of the Lost Sheep and the particular responsibility we have to go and seek the lost, which I think we can easily think is primarily about evangelism, but actually in Matthew's gospel, in particular, is primarily about going and bringing back those who are straying from the flock, those believers who are in danger of wandering away.

I think quite a lot of our ministry may well be needing to do that as people begin to regather. We won't really know where people are until they start to physically reconnect. You don't really know what level of engagement many people have with online services.

Regathering people, while finding there are some in our congregations that there are new, will be the norm coming out of lockdown. Maybe people who started out online and then start coming to physical church for the first time. The challenge there is that they don't know people as their experience has been an entirely online one. They don't actually know what church is like in our buildings and how it functions. We need to just be aware that they're not coming back to something that is in their memory.

Some are going to be new Christians. We have seen lots of churches reporting conversations in this period of time. Some of these people may have never been to church before and I think there's going to be a whole work of discipleship to do with new people who've come to church and also with new Christians who just started out on the Christian life.

So, regathering presents opportunities, but there are also challenges for church leaders.

There's going to be a new fringe to connect with in the life of the church. The fringe of people that are being connected with the church may not be the same group as the church was connecting with prior to lockdown.

There's going to be another challenge of rebuilding unity in the church, and that may well be difficult if there have been quite strongly held views about lockdown or what people should have done. If people are judgmental of the attitudes of others or what other people have chosen to do in lockdown, they may be judgmental of those who do not come back more quickly to church.

Maintaining and rebuilding the unity of the church is going to be a challenge, and I think we need to be realistic. It seems to me that church may not be people's top priority – particularly over the summer period. And this is my reasoning. Committed members have actually stuck with church through lockdown. They’ve attended online, they've stuck with groups they've been faithfully committed to. But what they've not been able to do is take holidays, visit friends and visit family.

It's easy for us as leaders to think church will reopen and they'll make that their priority. I think for many of them they'll think they have continued to make church a priority, and it's all the other areas of life that have been constrained, and I don't think we should be at all surprised if they choose to spend much of their time investing in those other relationships that they haven't been able to keep up in lockdown or doing those things that they haven't been able to do.

As leaders, we need to give people time to readjust to committing to church and just recognise that that isn't a sign of a lack of commitment. It's just a reality given what they've experienced during lockdown.

My personal judgment is probably our churches won't really be coming back together in a sort of a full and meaningful sense until the early autumn, and that we should probably recognise that late summer will be a period in which a lot of our people will be away a lot of the time. They often are over the summer anyway.

To summarise, I think we need realistic expectations of when the body is likely to regather as a whole.

Rejoicing

It seems to me it's really important that as we do begin regathering as we come out of lockdown, that we're able to rejoice together in the things that we are now able to do. That's a recognition of how important they are and how much it is that we have missed them over the period of lockdown.

God has been good in enabling us to continue online, but we want to rejoice and celebrate that we can now return to gathering in a in a biblical way. Therefore, we want to do the things that we haven't been able to do. We want to rejoice in being able to sing together, to rejoice in being able to celebrate the Lord's supper together and to rejoice in fellowshipping with one another.

Coffee times before and after services, and opportunities for social gathering with one another, are going to be hugely important to building the church. In this period, many people have continued to have faithful biblical teaching, but it's all those other elements of church life that they've not been able to enjoy, and therefore I think we need to make sure that those are particularly possible, and that we're rejoicing and celebrating in them.

Building and rebuilding the community and our hospitality across the church family is vital. I think there may be a place in church life for some bigger kind of events or services to celebrate being able to get back together to mark a new start, both looking back and lamenting the losses that we've experienced over this past year (and being totally honest about that) but also looking forward with rejoicing to the situation that we're in again.

My view is that's probably something that we're doing in autumn as a major restart, there might be a place earlier when the restrictions are removed. It’s an opportunity to mark a new start, full of rejoicing and thankfulness for who we are and what we're able to do.

I also think it's really important for kids and youth to be able to invest in really good things they can do to celebrate being able to gather together again. They've missed out on so much and we want to make it fun and enjoyable for them to be able to gather again with God's people. So, I think building in rejoicing is going to be really significant.

Retaining

Lockdown has been a period in which we've tried new things and we've been forced to do things that we haven't done before. We've developed skills and patterns of ministry that we didn't have previously, and I think one of the challenges for us to think through is what do we want to retain into our church life that has worked well over this period?

Again, it's not simply a case of going back to where we were at the beginning of the lockdown. There may be things that we've learned that we want to introduce into our church life and not simply give up when the lockdown fully comes to an end.

I think it's helpful for us as leaders as we reflect on our church and experience over this year to to look particularly to what you might call our unexpected successes. What things have we done that have been unexpectedly successful during this lockdown period? We did them because we thought they were a good thing to do, but they've been unexpectedly successful, perhaps in terms of the numbers of people who committed to them or perhaps in the impact that they've had.

A common thing that I've heard from quite a number of churches is about online evangelism. The numbers of people who came to online events or online Christianity Explored courses that it's quite easy for people to participate in and join. Is that something we would want in some measure or other to be able to retain?

Although online church is not a replacement for the physical gathering, there have been some benefits of online church. I think for many churches, it has provided something of a a new fringe for church and an ability to connect with people who wouldn't otherwise physically have come into church and have heard the gospel.

Many of our church members have found it very easy to invite people to listen in through links on social media. I've heard of spouses of people who are Christians but are non-Christian choosing to listen in online who wouldn't actually come through the doors of the church. Sometimes it's family members who don't live in the place where the church is, but because it's their family members church, they're willing to tune in.

The internet has extended those kinds of opportunities. How do we manage to keep those and keep making the most of those whilst not making that the norm up for our church life?

I do think we need to recognise the the barrier that many people feel in coming to church physically. It's a totally strange and alien environment for many of them, and often it doesn't fit with their life patterns.

This period has removed the barrier of people having to travel somewhere, park, get out, go in to somewhere. It extends the amount of time they have to give to something and it just puts people off coming.

We might find ourselves frustrated that people don't do things because of those marginal costs. But they do make a real difference to people, and if we can overcome them, maybe that will enable the reach of our ministries to be able to be extended.

It's not just our main services, of course. Small groups are different online too. People might have found that attending their growth group or their life group online has been easier. We've certainly found that with, for example, parents of children for whom otherwise it means one of them coming, one of them staying at home. That's where it's much easier to engage in with a Zoom format.

We’ve found the same with prayer meetings. Larger numbers of people have gathered to pray when we've prayed online.

Are those things we want in some way or another to retain and not lose out completely?

We also need to consider our web presence – especially our social media. I do think that is the front door: the shop window of the church in the contemporary world, particularly with a younger group.

And what about the kind of skills that people have learned along the way? What skills have we gained that can be deployed to help our ministries? We don't want to lose all of that, so retain good things that we have learned during this lockdown period.

Recuperating

It seems to me that in this period we (and many of our people) are exhausted and drained. As we come to the end of the lockdown, people simply aren't ready to go at full pelt at this particular point.

I think there's a danger that we might think that's what the church needs to do, but we will burden our people who are already exhausted and drained with more work that they need to do and at a point at which actually they're not really ready for that or able to bear that.

During this period there will be just many, many more possible problems revealed and things that have been happening under the surface. I know some things will have come to the surface during this period, but there may be many others. People with crises of faith, people with difficulties in relationships, people with difficulties in their parenting. People with illness, people with mental health problems that may very well emerge. For some they'll be the equivalent of a kind of lockdown PTSD through what they've endured over this last year or so.

I think for many there'll be a repressed grief, perhaps over the loss of loved ones where they've not been able to grieve properly, or they haven't really had chance to fully reflect on it. They will do once things begin to return to normal, and there may well be the emergence of depression. After the event, people get an adrenaline rush of “keeping going” and only now do they have opportunity to be able to reflect.

So, I think for many it is going to initially be a period of recuperating after the experience of lockdown. I think it's just worth remembering as we care for the sheep that there will be many wounded and exhausted members of the flock who are going to need care during this period.

Re-envisioning

There is a danger that during this lockdown period our churches have lost momentum.

We've been able to keep going as communities of the faithful, being fed week by week and being sustained in our faith, but inevitably we've not been able to engage in mission in the way that we might have been prior to the lockdown. That raises the question for our churches of what are we for? What is the goal and purpose of the church that brings together the body of the church, the outreach of the church and the evangelism of the church?

I think there may well be a task on the part of leaders to re-envision our churches for the work of the gospel and for the work of discipleship, for what it actually means to be a church.

A number of pastors I've spoken to are preaching on what church is at the moment because they want to do that work of re-envisioning the body as a whole.

I think this has particular implications for evangelism. It seems to me that very often weary and burdened people don't particularly share their faith, at least not naturally. People share their faith out of a joy in the Lord Jesus, and I think as we seek to encourage them in evangelism, we need to primarily encourage rather than burden them. I think for many of our people, that's what they will most need help at this particular time, and we won't simply be able to pick up where we left off.

It's a key role of the leaders of churches to be those who do set the vision and grant people encouragement to pursue the vision. I think there's going to be quite a lot of that that needs to happen as we begin to meet once again as churches.

Restarting

Most of us have been able to maintain services and often some of our small groups, but there are very many of the ministries, programmes, and activities that were part of our church life a year ago that have had to stop.

One of the challenges that we have is going to be restarting a whole plethora of ministries in our church life. It's a different question as to whether some of those ministries should restart (and we'll come to that) but even with the ministries that have stopped, there might be challenges restarting those ministries again.

For leaders (and particularly lay leaders), the team members who have been serving in those ministries before Covid have got used to not serving in some of them. They may be itching to get back or they may have been delighted not to have served in this period, and this has been their opportunity to lay it down. Some of them may feel that other priorities and their weariness mean that they're not really ready to pick up the burdens of serving that they had.

I think restarting our ministries in the life of the church may not be as easy as we might think. And once again, here I think it's a a mixture of challenge and opportunity.

It's a chance to review. Who is doing it? It may well be that in some of our ministries, leaders can step down and others take up the position of leadership. It may well be that there are team members who step down and new team members need to be recruited in. I think behind the scenes leaders need to be giving thought to that kind of issue.

I was speaking to a pastor from a church a couple of weeks ago who told me that in his church they've set up a team and each week they are getting together to review one ministry of the church, to give though to whether that ministry should restart. If so, how should it restart? What would be needed for it to restart? They are looking at every aspect of church life ahead of when each ministry could reopen.

I think it's always been a problem within evangelicalism that in our churches we become over busy that we add more and more programmes. More and more ministries lead to an over busy church. This is the opportunity to make sure that doesn't happen, or at least doesn't happen too quickly. It may well be that we don't think of starting everything at all at once, but just gradually begin to introduce ministries within the life of the church.

This is going to take immense wisdom and it seems to me that it would be wise at this point to only think about restarting ministries if you are confident that you want them to continue for the long term. If there are ministries that you are thinking you don’t want to continue for the long term, I don’t think it is wise to restart them and then have that discussion later down the line.

So, it may be worth thinking about your ministries and whether you want them restarted for the long term.

Reshaping

Connected to restarting is reshaping ministries. There's a question of whether things should be restarted, but there's a bigger opportunity to be able to reshape ministries and the life of the church.

I think the reality is that in many of our churches, as we begin to start getting together again and operating on a more formal footing, there's a sense in which almost every church is the equivalent of a replant or a revitalization. Again, we won't simply be picking up where we left off.

And it's therefore an opportunity to ask the question: “what should change in the patterns of our activities?” It’s very rare that you get an opportunity, as it were, to start from scratch. But in very many of our churches, that's the position that we've been forced into.

Because we've only been able to maintain the basics of church life through this period of time, there might be an opportunity to think about, for example, our services.

What's the pattern of our services over the course of a sort of a Sunday? How might that change the pattern of our ministry?

Look at the various ministries that we offer is a church, the configuration of our small groups and how they operate and fit within church life, how we conduct our church meetings. Are they all going to move to be in person meetings again, or do we enjoy some of the benefits of saved time and travel that comes through and meeting on Zoom?

And in many ways, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to think about the whole structure of our church life and whether or not it needs to be reshaped in order to serve our mission better for the future.

It may be that in our church there have been some hard decisions that we know have been needed to make in church life, but actually we've been putting them off because we find it more difficult to make those hard decisions.

Maybe this is a time in which those hard decisions can be made more easily because events have meant that everything has been brought to an end. Grasp those opportunities.

Also, as we reshape our ministries, I think it's helpful to think about the people in our churches who, during this period of time, have shown unexpected character and gifts and commitment. Situations like lockdown are a trial and a test of people. It may well be that unexpected people have come to the fore in our church life. They've shown a real strength of character. Perhaps they've been able to serve in certain ways and we want to be able to use them in the best and most effective way.

As the church begins to regather, who has stood out? What has surprised you and what might it mean for how that person could be used?

Responding

Responding to cultural issues from the lockdown. It has lasted much longer than any of us expected.

I think in March last year we were thinking it was going to be a matter of weeks, maybe months. But here we are into the second year of the lockdown, and of course most of our attention has been focused on the lockdown itself.

We talked a little bit about all the issues of the relationship with government, the restrictions that they've imposed and the impact that that has had on at church life. Now all of that has been important in occupying our attention. But as we move out of lockdown and into a degree of normality, I rather wonder if that will be relatively quickly forgotten, but issues that have emerged in lockdown and come to prominence will be much more significant in the longer run for churches and for our ministries.

The issues that the church needs to address and confront are fairly obvious.

I think race, ethnic diversity and racial discrimination has come to the fore during this period of time through the Black Lives Matter movement and I think it will be a continuing issue that churches and our culture have got to wrestle.

The issues of the exposure of sexual harassment and domestic violence, and particularly the mistreatment of women in society, has again come to the fore. I think that's bound to have a significant impact on our churches and our ministries within the Christian world. At the moment, complementarianism is being sort of spoken of as being intrinsically abusive and that will be a challenge in many of our church contexts.

Some of this has exposed a very significant and growing generational divide within the life of our churches. The attitudes of the older generation and the attitudes of the new Generation Z and Millennials who are a generation above them. It is a very stark difference, and I think as we seek to lead churches that are reaching different kinds of communities whose thinking starts in very different places, it's going to be a challenge to how can we bridge those gaps. We need to build a unity in in the gospel, without falling into either a reactionary conservatism or a woke progressivism.

And of course, we've spoken of the issues of spiritual abuse and issues of church leadership. Reviews have been published raising significant questions for the way that we lead churches, raising questions about safeguarding and how we deal with people at a pastoral level in the life of at the church. These will be ongoing questions.

I think we're going to need to address the issue of conversion therapy that's on the agenda at the moment. It's going to be so very significant in the next few months. How do we respond to the proposals from the Government? I think it's a real challenge because on the one hand there are practices that have been adopted by churches historically, that I think we would want to say are inappropriate. They're unbiblical and they're not right. People have been harmed and abused by them.

And yet, the way that campaigners are arguing they seem to want to be prohibiting any ordinary pastoral care to people who are struggling with issues of same-sex attraction. Normal pastoral ministry could end up being criminalised if there's not some care in the way that practices are defined.

So I think those issues that have been bubbling under the surface all the way through this lockdown period. Even when the lockdown is over, they're going to continue to be present and we're going to continue to have to wrestle with them and address them in our churches.

Resilience

I think that it's easy to think that when this lockdown comes to an end, when we're finally back to normality sometime towards mid-summer, that's it. The lockdown will be over and we can, as it were, revert to a new normality.

Now, I would love that to be the case. But I think at the very least in our planning and thinking, we need to build in the possibility that it might not be the case, so that's what I mean by resilience.

We've got to be resilient to the fact that this might not be the end of the crisis in the way that we would love.

It seems to me that the summer is likely to be a period that is much more back to normal. We saw that to some extent last year with the eat out to help out scheme and it felt like life was returning to normality. There are always risks that when it comes to the autumn there might be some developments that mean some of that normality can't continue in quite the same way.

I think the big risks that people are concerned about in government are the possibility of new variants of the virus emerging and coming to the UK and in the autumn you get a higher level of respiratory disease anyway, so it's more likely that there will be more kind of infections.

If the vaccination program continues and people are protected and there's less hospitalisation and less death that may well be manageable. But I do think we just need to bear in mind that as we plan for church and futures, we need to make sure that we have built into our minds a degree of resilience to a possible resurgence, so that what we put in place we can move up to a different footing if that is needed.

It seems to me that it would be unwise to plan simply on the assumption that it will be a straightforward process of return to normality. I think as leaders, we need to at least have an awareness that it may not be.

Refreshment

What I want to say here is, I think as leaders we need to realise that we can't lead from exhaustion. It's not a good place from which to lead when we are personally exhausted, whether that be spiritual, mental or physically exhausted.

When we are exhausted we are likely to make mistakes. When we're exhausted, we find it more difficult to maintain our godly character and to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, particularly in our relationships with others. When we are exhausted, we are more prone to temptations and to yielding to temptation.

I think the reality is that this has been an exhausting period. It's been exhausting because of the relentless decision-making processes that we've had to live under. I think that process of constantly having to think about what needs to be done: how do we comply with guidance? What does this mean for the church uncertainty as to where it's going to be? It is sapping of our energy and strength and that is cumulative and often suppressed in its effects.

Once we are out of this immediate period it might come out in our lives in various unexpected ways. We've been running to some extent on adrenaline for a period of time. But we can't do that forever.

I've said that our congregations are exhausted, and we need to be careful not to burden them, not to rush too quickly. I think at the same time we need to make sure that we take care of ourselves that we are refreshed so that we are in a good place to be able to lead the church when it's really needed. We want to be in a position to be able to lead.

Leadership is crucial to regathering and re-envisioning the church and taking its ministries forward.

As I've said, I suspect that for many of us it is probably going to be the early autumn. It's the point at which we could begin to really relaunch things and redevelop things.

And I think, as we come out of the lockdown over this summer period, it seems to me that it's a priority that we make sure that we ourselves are refreshed. We may not have been able to see family and friends that we might have wished. We may well not have had breaks that we would normally have had. We might be running on empty spiritually. What will refresh you and what will refresh your soul?

We would be wise to be thinking between now and autumn about how can we make our own refreshment a priority so that we can serve our churches really well when it comes to the autumn.

This is probably the moment of opportunity because once it gets back to autumn and everybody is back together and everything is beginning to pick up, there won't be the opportunity for it for it. Then we might feel a measure of guilt, prioritizing our personal refreshment in this period of time. But I think if we don't there could be significant consequences in terms of our cumulative exhaustion right at the very point at which we need to be leading the church.

Refreshment now will help to avoid any kind of ministry burnout later in the year.

And as we lead our individual churches, we need to move at the pace we can manage as leaders and the pace that our churches can manage. Hopefully those will be in sync with each other, but our churches need leaders who are refreshed and who are able to sustain their ministries.

So personal refreshment, I think, is a significant and key thing for us to sort of work to over this summer period.

Relax

And then finally, I want to say: relax.

As church leaders, with all the responsibility that we bear, it's easy for us to feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. We feel the weight of responsibility for our church. We feel an immense concern for the people and we feel concerned about the finances of the church. We feel concerned about how our leadership will be perceived. Will people think that we're doing the right thing? That we're serving hard enough? Will we have the answers to all of the challenges that are present?

But I think the temptation for us as leaders is to bear that all on ourselves and to fall into thinking that we ultimately are the saviours of at the church and the people. I think the message here is: don't try to be. That's not what Jesus calls us to be. We are not the Saviour. We are the servants of the Saviour, and as we lead through this time, I want to encourage us that we need to relax. By that I mean trusting God's sovereignty.

God is the one who is in control. He is the one who is immeasurably powerful. He is the one who has all the the resources that are necessary to meet the needs of his church. It is his church and he cares for it far more than you or I ever could. There's a danger of taking a burden on ourselves that we can't carry.

When we try to do it, it actually makes our ministry less effective. That's not at all saying that we shouldn't be caring, diligent servants, but we do that in a way that trusts God rather than that seeks to carry those sort of responsibilities ourselves.

So, as we seek to lead at the church, trusting God’s sovereign goodness and purposes, I think this lockdown has taught us that we are not in control. We're not able to determine events. We have to trust God.

We've not been able to care for people in the way that we might have wanted to. Many of our programs have fallen by the wayside, but yet God has still been at work in people’s lives. We need to cast our anxiety on him and trust him to bear it rather than thinking that he casts his anxiety on our hearts.

We need to be people of prayer who bring everything to God and rely in dependence on him and seek to receive the peace that he offers, the confidence that he is the one who's in control and he is working out his good purposes. He is the one who will build his church. Ultimately, it's his work and it’s for his glory that he is concerned.

Or maybe we need to find ways in which we don't carry that burden. There's a lot that I've spoken about today, and you might be thinking that sounds like an awful lot to do. My aim is not to burden you with it. I hope it's just prompted you to think about what you ought to be thinking about as you think of the church emerging from lockdown.

All of us, I think, need to relearn our confidence and our trust in God. The Bible warns against anxiety and worry. The antidote to that is confidence in God and relaxing in him.

So those are a range of things. I think that churches and leaders in particular need to be thinking about in these times. As we begin to come out of our lockdown.

You can find more resources to help lead your church through, and out of, lockdown on our Coronavirus page. Your questions about coronavirus restrictions are answered on our Covid FAQs page.

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