Don’t #ReopenChurch … #Reimagine Your Church

Phil Miglioratti • The #ReimagineFORUM


Many Pastors are afraid of what might happen when they reopen their church schedule. Members missing. New (strange?) persons who don’t fit the congregation’s homogeneous profile. Reduction in giving. A dissatisfaction with traditional patterns or a disconnecting from old programs. New expectations of leadership. Uncharted territory.


In truth, every Christian leader knows the Church can never be “reopened” because the Church is the Body of Christ, a 24/7/365 living, breathing entity. We can’t “close” down. Jesus told his disciples: “Don’t yield to fear. All you need to do is to keep on believing” (Mark 5:36). The Amplified Bible’s version: “Do not be afraid; only keep on believing [in Me and my power].”


But, even though we all experience fear, it is not to be feared. Fear can actually be beneficial as it alerts us to a problem that must not be ignored or an enemy that must be conquered. It gets our attention by screaming through body, soul, and spirit: “Do something. Now!” Our biggest mistake is trying to silence or outrun fear rather than heeding the wise words of scripture to keep focused on the Lord of life, the Chief Shepherd of the Church. As Pastor Andy Stanley would say: “Fear. Less.” I would add: “Fear wisely.”


Fear less because “…we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.” Romans 8:28 (The Passion Translation)


Fear wisely, congregation, because “…we are convinced that every detail of our church is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good through the mission and ministry of our church, for we are his community who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.” Romans 8:28 (my paraphrase)


Fear less. Fear wisely. Refuse a return to business as usual. Resist the temptation to merely reopen your church. Instead, reimagine how a church lives out faith, hope, and love in the shadow of a pandemic. Invite the Holy Spirit to take you (pastors, lead teams, affinity groups, congregations) on a journey of rethinking by:

  1. Assessing how the new normal impacts the calling and gifting of your congregation
  2. Blessing your constituents but also the diverse peoples in your community
  3. Confessing your fear and declaring your faith to move into the future


Make a fearless assessment of the new normal.

  • Have we made meaningful connections with every member? Attender?
  • Have we developed systems to identify practical needs of our families? Our community?
  • Are we identifying the degree of difficulty each person/family has experienced?
  • Have we surveyed our membership to know how to serve their:
    • Practical needs?
    • Emotional pains?
    • Spiritual status?
  • Gather (virtual, if not safe to meet in person) leadership to prayerfully discern:
    • Strengths – what new capabilities have we discovered in our people?
    • Weaknesses – in what ways has our ministry capacity decreased?
    • Opportunities – which needs or new options are we facing?
    • Resources – what undiscovered, unexpected resources have surfaced?
    • Risks/Rewards – have we counted the cost of making changes? Doing nothing?


Begin to daily ask for the mind of Christ so that you (personally but also with congregational ministers) discern how to reimagine how to develop:

  • Experiential worship
  • Enthusiastic (“in; theos/God”) fellowship
  • Equipped leadership
  • Extreme discipleship
  • Extravagant stewardship
  • Engaging citizenship


Pursuing a Spirit-led, Scripture-fed journey may lead you to begin a new chapter of ministry. Your congregation or team may be called upon to make a radical change or to recalibrate systems or reorient programs. Focus on Jesus. Fear less. Fear wisely. Follow Jesus… to the places where Almighty God is already at work; an invitation to serve with our Savior.


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  • Why it is I get the sense that when CV19 is over and "church" is re-imagined, the end result will be "business as usual?" The answer is in the next question: What is it that has been done differently while "church" has been "closed?" Services have been held although there has been no one in the congregation. Music has been played although there has been no one in the congregation. Messages have been preached although there has been no one in the congregation. In other words, nothing has been done differently except the congregation has been relocated. It has been "business as usual" even though the congregation is not in the same building where these events have taken place. "Church" has not been re-imagined.

    I recently asked several who had sheltered at home: "Why don't you invite a few friends over to study your Bible?" Three times the answer was: "The PASTOR has not allowed that." My thought after that was of an organizational chart with the Pastor at the top, Assistant/Associate Pastors beneath him, Deacons beneath them, and congregants beneath them. Jesus is either seen as an assistant to the Pastor or not even on the chart.

    To me, "re-imagining church" needs to start with Pastors meeting with Assistant/Associate Pastors. They in turn meet with Deacons who in turn meet with congregants. These meetings are not large, no more that six or seven. These meetings are not "I'm in charge," but "Let us learn together." This will place each individual on the same plane of learning, growing, and movement toward maturity. Eventually, as each individual takes responsibility for facilitating, teaching, and training in a variety of lessons, they will be evidence of a "church" re-imagined for business will not be as usual.

    • Hello Dave, and thank you for a strong reply.

      "To me, "re-imagining church" needs to start with Pastors meeting with Assistant/Associate Pastors" is exactly the kind o response I hope comes from leaders who consider reimagining their ministry.

      Spirit-led. Scripture-fed.

      Otherwise, whatever we change will merely be a change, rather than a fresh step of obedience on the path of the journey,


  • Phil,

    Great word, brother!  I have been burdened since the beginning of this journey that pastors and churches are spending more time trying to determine how to keep on doing what they have been doing in a different way than pressing into God and allowing Him to show them how He wants them to move forward.  It is time to gather the leaders, spend time with God over an open Bible, listen intently to His still small voice, and reimagine church.  

    • Than you friend ... hoping The Rooftop will help many leaders #ReimaginePRAYER!

  • Phil, a book that may be helpful to reimagine church, is Something needs to change: a call to make your life count in a world of urgent need, by David Platt.

    This book is for everybody - pastors and church members.

    Publisher: Multnomah 

    Available on and amazon.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love and grace.

    Please give us the mind of Christ. Help us to hear His voice clearly and show us how to follow Him in this very unique time in the history of the world, how to be the church and the Bride that You desire for Your Son. We depend on Your Holy Spirit to make us willing and able and to strengthen and to protect all who belong to You.

    In the Name of Jesus Christ whose banner over us is love, because of His blood that He shed for us, amen.


    • grateful for your reply; especially your prayer ...

  • Love Thy Neighbor Grocery Delivery



    “It’s such a loving thing for us to just share the most basic commodity of all, food, with each other. I think it’s significant that when Jesus is loving his neighbor, he’s providing food for them. He’s usually sitting at a table, having a hospitable presence. I know we can’t sit at a table with each other yet, but I’m hoping there would be a follow up where at some point we would sit at a table together somewhere as neighbors.”

    - Pastor Kimberley Morrrison, Park Street Church

    To kick off the “Love Thy Neighbor” campaign, we are launching a program in which Christians throughout the Greater Boston area can assist families with basic food needs. This program is focused on families and households who have someone that tested positive for COVID-19 by providing them with a simple bag of groceries. Working in partnership with Massachusetts COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative (CTC) at the..., the program puts each volunteer in contact with a particular family within the person’s designated zip code. The volunteers then have 48 hours to purchase and deliver groceries to their assigned families. You are encouraged to place a card with encouraging words of hope in your delivery! Our goal is to serve 20 people per day, or 100 per week!

    How Can You Help?

    To get started, we need to identify individuals who are able and willing to purchase and deliver food in a timely manner within their community. If you would like to be involved in this beautiful and much needed initiative, please fill out the Registration Form and help us spread the word! >>>CLICK<<<

  • #ReimaginePRAYER...


    I'm excited to tell you that we have prayer Tuesday-Friday at 7PM. We average between 15-20 people calling in each night. In comparison, that's about the amount of people that would attend on a Wednesday night. Many of the people calling into prayer never attended Wednesday night prayer. Several people have stepped up to help me lead it. David Morris our Deacon chair does Tuesday nights and Elder Doug takes on a couple nights a week. It's been an excellent way to keep the church connected and moving forward in this challenging season. God is good!!! 

    Blessings, Pastor Mark      

                                                              a real church of the real God to the real world...

    May 26, 2020

    Hello Phil,

    I hope you enjoyed Sunday service. Special thanks to Noel Irias, Sabrina Stark, Philip Allen, and Tony Anderson for making it happen. Thanks for all of your positive comments. It was an awesome service. If you didn't get a chance to hear it you can go to and put Uptown Baptist Church in the search bar to look up the message.
    Our prayer schedule is Tuesday-Friday at 7:00PM. Please email me your prayer requests ahead of time so we can be sure to pray for them
    To join by phone you can dial in by calling 1.408-418-9388 and enter the Access code: 629 239 750#. UBC Saints, please remember to call into the prayer meeting by 7:20pm. Otherwise, you may get locked out the meeting. Some of you have experienced this so please call in early.   
    Lastly, let's finish the month of May strong. You can drop off your tithe in the mail slot at the church or mail it in. You can also give electronically through our Pushpay App. God’s work continues. Have a blessed week in the Lord. Pastor Mark 
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    We'd love to connect with you about forming an on-line Ephesiology Mini-Lab in your community. Drop me an email if you are interested.


    COVID-19 and the Church

    This concise history of the two plagues impacting the early church teaches us lessons that can apply to our current situation with the coronavirus. Its free to download by clicking the link.

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  • Prayers for the Entertainment Industry
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    Dear HPN members,

    We are reaching out to you today at a tragic time in our American history. As we continue to experience a pandemic, after almost three months of quarantine, we are now experiencing another disturbing act of racial injustice, triggering a national outcry. The enemy has come again to steal, kill and destroy and he’s hitting us from all sides. So, HPN wants to stop and take time to respond with prayer and lament. Therefore we have chosen to step away from our usual Call Sheets and dedicate this issue to humble prayer and lament. Please join us in seeking God’s face for the betterment of both our media and entertainment industry, and our nation.

    It’s a time in which we need to step up as followers of Jesus and proactively LOVE unconditionally, SERVE whomever we can around us, and LISTEN to people with differing opinions, so that the Lord can bring supernatural unity, peace, and love amongst ALL people. Would you join with us this month to not only stand firm in our convictions of love, but to step out to make a positive eternal difference in our world. I am reminded of the powerful quote from Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” 
    We invite you to join us as we pause and take time as artists to lament and pray.
    We want to begin with a prayer written by our faithful HPN member and Local Chapter Director Jana M. Gamble in St. Louis, Missouri, in the midst of this time:

    Father God, we give You all of the praise and honor today. You are Jehovah Rapha- God our Healer! You are Alpha and Omega and You know the end from the beginning. God, we ask You for forgiveness for the times that we have not walked in love personally and corporately as members of every nation You created. We repent for the leaders that birthed laws rooted in injustice. You are a just God and as the world cries out on behalf of George Floyd, in the midst of a global pandemic, Lord we ask You to wrap us in Your loving arms of protection and remind us that red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in Your sight. God no matter our complexion- we matter to You! Lord give us wisdom and understanding that causes us to pivot into a season that Your will manifests. Let the church arise! God, inspire the entertainment industry to take the responsibility of producing stories that advance constructive dialogue. May these days spark eternal positive change in our hearts, government, and every land that You consume with Your agape love. We humbly ask You for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, unity, peace, justice, love, comfort, and joy as You heal our nations. In Jesus’ name–Amen & Amen!
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    A Sermon of Hope
    This past Sunday, HPN Board member Dr. Naima Lett shared the message What Do We Do Now?, calling our community into unity and spiritual action to seek God for His definitive answer addressing our nation's ongoing issues with injustice. We hope all of you will take the time to listen. 
    A Poem of Lament
    Propaganda, a Christian and a rapper, released this video poem, an artistic expression of lament.
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    Prayers of Unity
    On Pentecost Friday, we had a supernatural time of racial reconciliation during our HPN Friday Prayer Call with pray-ers from six countries united in a beautiful hour of praise and prayer. In the middle of it the Lord moved and brought us together in powerful vulnerability and unity, as we stood firm on the truth that we are all God’s creation and we truly love one another! The Spirit moved through us as we prayed for racial reconciliation and healing in our nation. Please continue to pray that the Lord will keep speaking through our weekly prayer:
    Production Guidelines
    We don’t know what the future of film and TV production looks like. Please join us in praying for the Lord to reveal wise guidelines so that our people can go back to work. We are badly hurting since production shut down almost three months ago. Let’s pray that our leaders in all the states where production takes place to have the wisdom and discernment to guide us into this next phase of opening so that people would be safe and healthy but also be able to work and make an income.
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    Industry Lay-Offs
    Our industry is seeing massive furloughs, lay-offs and closed businesses and we ask that you pray with us that the Lord will redeem those He wants to continue, bring new ventures and companies to those who need to move on and hope to all of us here. We don’t know yet what the “new normal” will be for production but in the meantime, we want to pray for those who have lost their jobs.  Attached is a list of people who have been laid off by CBS. Would you pray for each one by name so that the Lord will touch their lives.
    It can be hard to know if the news we're getting is true or exaggerated. Instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, we want to pray for the journalists who are writing newsworthy pieces of integrity, sometimes even risking their lives to get the real story. One thing that we want to pray for is the fair treatment of journalists. We grieve the arrest of journalists and we praise God for the apologies that officials have made. Pray that God would protect the people who report current events so we can be well informed about what’s going on in the world. We can only make imaginative, creative, fantastical art through the truth.
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    In our May 20 Call Sheet, we mentioned XXXChurch and its leader Craig Gross. However, Craig turned over the reins last year to Brittni de la Mora (who happens to be an ex porn star) and her husband Richard de la Mora, who are both pastors in the San Diego area and expanding the growing ministry of XXX Church. Let’s pray for Brittni and Richard as they lead this impactful movement.
    Thank you so much for lamenting with us this week. Know that we are here for you, we need your continued prayers and we are praying for all of you! Let’s keep showing up each day and asking God to use us to bring His Kingdom down to earth in Hollywood!
    With love,
    Karen, Kaelyn, Virginia and Kim
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