And we're talking about pastors from over half of the states in the United States, and from every continent other than Antarctica. Small towns, big cities, multiple denominations, you name it. And so, in having all of these conversations and spending all of this time listening to small church leaders, I discovered a handful of principles that everybody I talked to agreed were accurate for their situation.
So I'm leaving out the things that don't apply in just one situation or just a handful of situations. And I'm going to walk through four principles that I have seen in the past year and a half that are absolutely universal in every time and in every situation, whenever a crisis comes up, and these are ways that you and your church—that I believe every leader and every church—needs to get ready for so that you will be prepared for the next time some difficulty comes up because a difficult season is on its way. We don't know what it'll be, but we can prepare for it, whatever it is.
So here are the four of them. Let's start with number one.
First of all, churches that have responded and thrived during the pandemic, and that will recover and thrive well after the pandemic, and that will be ready for whatever the next difficult situation is—that's what we're looking at here. First of all, they had resources in reserve. They had resources in reserve. I noticed this immediately when the pandemic struck for our congregation here in California. On one Sunday, we had heard about this pandemic coming through. I even did a little kind of jokey thing on stage, with one of our associate pastors where I demonstrated we probably ought to do an air hug and an air high five, and we actually demonstrated to little bit of a laugh on stage and nobody took it really all that seriously. By Wednesday, we were taking it seriously. I believe it was on Wednesday. When the pronouncement came down from the governor, everything's closed for the next, I think they said, three or four weeks. And we thought, that's all.
How naive we were. But for the next Sunday, we were not going to be able to meet in church. Again, theaters were closed. Bars were closed. Restaurants were closed. Gyms are closed. Beauty salons were closed, right? Everything got closed. And so we knew we're going to have a few weeks of not being able to meet inside our building.
And as a small congregation, we had not been live streaming. So we had four days to figure out how to livestream our service, what to put in a live stream service, where to put it on the internet, and how to let our people know where to find it so they could watch us on Sunday morning.