THE GREAT REBOOT: New Wineskins and the Paradigm Shift

Whether you call it scary, exciting or unsettling, one thing is for sure: The world is going through a mammoth transformation. These are days you will never get back. Days that will define you. Opportunities that you will never see again.

You have the opportunity to do things now you have never done before, and you have newly-paved avenues that haven’t been available before. But be assured of this: The world has changed. Forever. We aren’t going back to the old normal. It is a day of new wineskins.

For many businesses like airlines, arts and entertainment, luxury hotels, restaurants and others, getting back to pre-coronavirus levels won’t happen soon and the recovery could last until 2023-2024 — and even into 2025 — industry officials say. As you know, some businesses have already thrown in the towel and others are struggling frantically to stay afloat.

The businesses and other entities that are thriving today are those that have reexamined their business or ministry models and tweaked or completely revised their approaches. These are some of those changing models.

CHURCH.

There are no two ways about it. Church has gone virtual, and some churches are actually very good at it. Good doesn’t necessarily mean polished, just fruitful and creative. From parking lot services to Facebook Live and podcasts to Instagram stories, the church is connecting much more effectively today than it was six months ago.

Home is safer for many. Whether it’s physical or mental or emotional, people feel more comfortable watching church on a computer or television in their homes. In their PJs, with their coffee. People who wanted to go to church, but didn’t want to risk being vulnerable — either physically or emotionally — can now “attend” in the safe zone. This provides new connection points that must be followed up.

Not surprisingly, church buildings aren’t filling up, even as other parts of the economy are re-opening. Churches will need to continue to be creative and adjust their connection points to reach people. Those that are merely waiting for the return to normal will be waiting a long time. And perhaps dying on the vine.

Churches with more resources (e.g. financial, ingenuity, creativity, invitiative) will thrive. Those without may struggle.

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But don’t misunderstand: While churches will need to adjust, adapt and change, the opportunity to thrive is more possible now than before. Innovation and remodeling the approach can revitalize the message, but many churches will follow the route of the old brick and mortar stores that are falling victim to the changes and paradigm shift.

It’s the day of the new wineskins.

EDUCATION.

Yep, the days of sitting in classrooms may be ending, or at least beginning to end. Colleges and universities are going the way of major brick and mortar stores that didn’t keep up with the Amazons, WalMarts and others. More and more, you see empty buildings on college campuses and, unfortunately, you’ll see more in the coming years.

It’s not that people aren’t interested in learning, it’s more how they learn. And how much they pay. The cost of education has gone through the roof in the past few decades. Student loan debt is one of the greatest crises in America today: Borrowers owe more than $1.64 trillion in student loans. And, while other debt can be negotiated away, student loan debt doesn’t go away in bankruptcy or other credit fix scenarios.

Now education is going virtual, and that will mean convenience and lower prices. New companies are emerging who will hire teachers and adminstrators to teach hundreds at a time online. Existing funding will focus more on the studen in the future, rather than educational facilities.

Many colleges won’t be hosting students on campus this fall, and many believe that college, as we have known it, is “never coming back”.

HEALTHCARE.

Just as the days of the doctor’s house call gave way to offices, so too are their offices giving way to virtual healthcare. Even before the coronavirus set in, telehealth was on the rise and experts predicted a 65% growth in 2020. Experts now predict more than a billion virtual health-care interactions this year. Teladoc reports more than 15,000 virtual visits a day.

Hospitals are ramping up technology and staffing to build out their telehealth platform. By seeing patients online, these “visits” minimize ER visits, limit exposure for doctors and nurses, maximize home health and further centralize a system around the heavy hitters in the medical field. In other words, your friendly family doctor with the stethoscope wrapped around his neck is on the way out.

SHOPPING.

Well, duh, we knew this was coming. As mentioned above, the brick and mortar days are crumbling. Malls that were hanging on when 2019 became 2020 are on their death beds. The anchors that were their bread and butter — Sears, J.C. Penney, Dillards, Macy’s — and others like Bed Bath and Beyond, GNC, Forever21 and Abercrombie and Fitch are on their final legs.

Online ordering is up and delivery companies are popping up everywhere. Grocery stores and restaurants have discovered that pick up and delivery provide a cleaner business and it’s more lucrative. Many restaurants who didn’t adapt are already shuttered.

Can chains and others sustain the growth they’ve seen thus far in 2020? Perhaps not, but they will never return to pre-coronavirus levels. And, as we examined earlier, it’s a little late to complain with righteous indignation about the cashless society. We are very close.

YOUR LIFE.

Ah, yes, it all comes full circle. How will you interact with The Great Reboot? What will its impact be on you and your family? Older generations — who remember rotary phones, milk delivered to the front porch and black and white TV — may struggle more with new technology. Still, the paradigm shift will affect everyone, and those who adapt and adjust will be the big winners. And survivors.

We’ll explore more about the new wineskins and how they influence you in future posts, but suffice it to say the time for action and reaction is now. In the meantime, here are a few questions to consider. You can leave your answers in the comments section.

  • What changes are you struggling with most? Not being able to go church, shopping online, job loss, technology changes?
  • What have you done to adapt? New training or education, downsizing, learning new platform, saved money/paid off debt, stay up-to-date on changes?
  • What scares you most about the future in the Great Reboot? What excites you most?

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