Church Unlocked

18 May 2021

Change is on the horizon. The restrictions we’ve become so familiar with are easing. Our church doors are reopening. Some sense of ‘normality’ feels close at hand.
But is ‘normal’ what we really want?


Over the coming weeks, we’ll be exploring what it means to be the Church unlocked. We’ll be asking what church life could look like as we approach the uncertain months ahead.

We’ll take time to reflect on the lessons we’ve learnt during lockdown, and look back at how we’ve fought to protect vital freedoms during a time when churches have found themselves locked from the outside.

We’ll celebrate churches and leaders across the UK who have continued to faithfully share the hope of Jesus with their communities – often finding innovative new ways to do so.

Most of all, we want you to be part of this conversation. We want to hear from you about how you and your church have changed as a result of the pandemic – the lessons you’ve learnt, the ways you’ve been forced to adapt, and the new ministries you’ve started. We want your say on what it means to be the Church Unlocked.

Combatting fear and loneliness

We kicked off Church Unlocked series with a special episode of Round the Table, with Rev. David Hall of Christ Church Chorleywood and Pastor Oliver Allmand-Smith from Trinity Grace Church, North Manchester, who spoke on how the Church can help people struggling with fear and loneliness.

You can also read more from other church leaders and find out what they’re doing to combat feelings of fear and loneliness in their churches.

Is ‘hybrid church’ here to stay?

Our second livestream looked more in depth at whether ‘hybrid church’ – church online and in person – is a loving way to make worship more accessible. We spoke to two more pastors – Dave Gobbett, pastor of Highfields Church  in Cardiff and Pete Cornford, pastor of Redeemer Church Ealing – about what plans they have to keep going with online church, or whether they plan to scrap it. We also asked our followers on Instagram what they thought of hybrid church.

Is the church rediscovering its call to ‘go outside’?

As well as pushing churches online and into people’s homes, the pandemic has also pushed many of us to go outside, meeting safely for church services, but also taking part in street evangelism, Bible studies and outside small group gatherings. In our third livestream, we spoke to church leaders Matt Timms, Tunde Balogun and Kurt Erickson to hear of their experiences of outside church, and asked our followers on social media what they’d done to move church outside.

What has Covid meant for evangelism?

We were joined by evangelists Canon J.John, Dominic Muir and Laura Brett as they shared how each of their ministries had changed and been affected by the pandemic, reaching both the thousands and also focusing in on more personal, one-to-one discipleship – opportunities for outreach and evangelism that hadn’t existed before Covid.

Church and secular authorities

On our fifth livestream, we were joined by Regan King (Angel Church, London), Rev. Daniel Mateola (Kingdom Faith Ministries International Church) and Peter Naylor (Immanuel Presbyterian Church) as they discussed how Church-government relations have been strained through lockdowns. Where does that all leave the Church in our nation?

Moving forward with Christ in a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ world

Rev. Melvin Tinker, former vicar of St John Newland and Director of Theology for the Christ Church Network, Hull, spoke to his church on how the Church can move forward in a post-Covid world, where everything seems to be in a ‘sleepy’ state. His talk was originally published on the St John Newland YouTube channel and has been republished with permission.

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