Friday, September 28, 2018

Five Fast Worship Location Options for the Freaked Out Pastor!

“Go and make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28:19

Fifty-two churches across the North Carolina Conference received some damage from hurricane Florence. For some of these churches I’m betting there are freaked out pastors (and maybe a few laity) wondering where can they worship when the building they’ve used for 50, 100, 150+ years is inaccessible for the near future.  Having served churches where the building was unusable due to storms busted pipes, or other unforeseen problems and having been a church planter without any access to a building, here are five fast worship location options for the freaked out pastor:

1. Other Churches: United Methodists profess to be “connectional” and yet sometimes we still operate as isolated islands of huddled Christians. Make contact with other churches, within and beyond, your own denomination that did not suffer from damage and see if you can worship in their space at an alternate time from their normal worship hour. I have found churches to be incredibly accommodating, at least in the short term, to those who had their facility suddenly unavailable.
File photo, not a NCCUMC church!

2. Have a Yard Party: Even if your building is inaccessible, perhaps your grounds are still safe? If so, have your folks bring lawn chairs and picnic blankets and make a party out of the problem. Sing camp meeting songs and meet under the brush arbor that the church may have been birthed from. Make sure you have insect repellant and citronella candles! This can become a longer-term solution with the rental of a large party tent and a few portable bathrooms. Not ideal, but doable.

3. Public Community Spaces: often parks, picnic shelters, and pavilions are cleaned up long before homes and churches are. Look into using (renting if necessary) a park shelter for a few weeks. Make sure you communicate the location of your new “pop up worship” space to your community and members. Don’t forget the hot dogs!

4. Schools, offices, and restaurants: of course some of the businesses in your community may have also suffered damage, however there may be some that would be willing for you to gather on Sunday morning. How about a local restaurant banquet room. For the price of breakfast you may be able to gather, worship, and have biscuits!

5.   One more radical option, be the church scattered instead of the church gathered. Find a handful of folks whose homes are undamaged and who would be willing to host weekly worship gatherings. There are multiple ways to do this, including having the pastor share the message for the day on a ZOOM Conference call to every home or even Facebook Live. The logistics might be a bit of a challenged, however with a little creativity you could live out Acts 2:42 in entirely new ways.
These are just a few ideas for you on where to worship when your building is suddenly inaccessible. Don’t freak out, remember the early church changed the world from the catacombs, not from cathedrals.

If you would like to arrange a coaching call to process where you can worship or any other storm related struggles, I’d be happy to talk to you. Go to and schedule a call. The NCCUMC New Faith Communities office is here to help you invite people into communion with Christ and to assist in any way we can to help your faith community flourish.

Live Passionately,

PS. Leave your favorite emergancy worship locations in the comments! Can't wait to see your ideas.

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