I feel like we are on the cusp of a post-pandemic world. We are slowly discovering what the new normal is going to look like. Each state, city, and even families are working carefully and intentionally to seek the right balance of normalcy and safety. But the closer we get to normal, the more urgent is the question of discipleship at home after COVID-19. This is certainly not some kind of switch we flip, suddenly returning to how things once were.
A few months ago, I wrote a post about the opportunity to create a new normal, to lean into time with family, and to take advantage of the time we are given. Now there are a few new questions on the horizon that I think we need to consider before we get sideswiped when we weren’t looking.
Discipleship During a Pandemic
So let’s recap the last few months. You’ve been at home with your kids. Whether you have realized—or taken advantage of it—or not, you have had an incredible opportunity to dig so much deeper into connecting with them and discipling them. You’ve been home, they have been home, and churches and schools were mainly relying on you as the parent to fill the role of teacher and disciple-maker. But as the pace of life slowly begins to return to some kind of normalcy, don’t think for a second things will immediately return to what once was. There is still no much unknown with the future of school and church activities.
The longer abnormality drags on, the more convinced I am that church, youth group, and even children’s ministry will never look the same. But should it? Discipleship via Zoom can only be a temporary fix. And as I talk with parents all over, I am learning something very encouraging. The time spent at home has forced parents to engage in more focused discipleship of their kids. And little did we all realize that discipling our kids was our job all along.
But there is an added layer to all of this that I believe ought to keep us entrenched in the fight to keep our kids connected to and growing in Christ. It’s the fear of the unknown—the fear of what the future holds. Our kids were already anxious before the pandemic. Students all over the country reported the highest levels of stress and anxiety seen in years, suicide rates were increasing, and depression rising. But these last few months have only added insult to injury.
It was only a few months ago, we sat in our homes wondering if and when school would reopen when we would be called back to work, and when we would wake up on Sunday and attend a church service. But now that many of us are starting to step outside more, summertime activities are resuming, churches are beginning to reopening in many places, and many are returning to work; a whole new set of questions are looming. And many of these questions are being asked by our kids.
What’s school going to look like?
What about sports?
Are we wearing masks?
Will there be a second wave?
Are we going to be stuck at home again?
I’m not just talking about teens. A few days ago, my 9-year old had a minor nuclear meltdown. One of those days, she just couldn’t stop crying and pull it together. So she sat down and made a list of what was on her mind. Besides the usual childhood concerns, like her older sister acting like a parent, everything she expressed was pandemic related. Even in the midst of hope, optimism, and even excitement for some of life returning to normal, she has real fears, real concerns, and real questions about what the future holds.
Keep Making Disciples
So as your churches, youth groups, and children’s ministries begin to return to their regularly scheduled programming, it will be easy to slip back into our old habits of letting the church do the job and support them where needed. Don’t. Our post COVID-19 discipleship at home shouldn’t be a return to comfort and ease. Now is the time to keep the discipleship moving along. Keep our heels dug in. Keep doing the devotionals, keep having the conversations, keep challenging your kids, keep praying together, worship together, and learn together.
Your kids will need you to continue to walk this new path with them. They will need you to help them see God working through this new unknown.