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EMMAUS: The Post-Quarantine Church

Program Description

While we simply aren’t yet in a post-quarantine time, we look forward to it with hope, and with questions, particularly about how to be church when our lives aren’t as limited by pandemic, nor afflicted by conflict and controversy related to vaccines, masks, social distancing and all those things that have been so prominent in our lives, and our congregations’ lives, for the past two years.

In his book, The Post-Quarantine Church, Thom S. Rainer poses “six urgent challenges and opportunities” that he suggests will “determine the future of your congregation.” Join Bishop Brian Maas for this high-altitude view of Rainer’s book and a discussion of which of these challenges and opportunities seem to ring true for you.

In addition to a review of Rainer’s challenges and opportunities, we’ll have time to discuss our own observations, predictions and best guesses about the challenges and opportunities that will have greatest priority in our own congregations, and we’ll talk with honesty about how prepared we think our congregations—and we ourselves—are prepared to take on these opportunities and challenges.

There will be no quick or easy answers from this Zoom book discussion, and certainly no new programs to propose. But there will be honest dialog about our concerns and open space for shared visioning for the church that will emerge from our COVID era. We’ll ask questions like, “what are we ready for?” “What are we wholly unprepared for?” and “How will we communicate these concepts to our congregations?”

Note: it will be helpful but not essential to have read the book in advance of this workshop.

Bio of Presenter

Brian Maas was elected Bishop of the Nebraska Synod in 2012 and re-elected in 2018. Before that, he had served as Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Tekamah, NE; Immanuel Lutheran in Kansas City, MO; and First Lutheran, Lincoln, NE. He attended Nebraska Wesleyan University, Yale Divinity School and the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, PA. He received an honorary doctorate from Nebraska Wesleyan in 2019. Brian is married to Debbie, a mental health counselor in private practice. They live in Omaha, where they engage in their shared hobby of gardening. Their adult children are Nate, Becca (and her husband, Nick) and Jo. Their house is also home to a German Shepherd.

Class Details

Format: Zoom – Link will be sent February 16

Date: Tuesday, February 22, 7:30pm – 9:00pm Central/6:30pm – 8:00pm Mountain


  • $10 for an individual registering on their own
  • $20 for a congregational group

Registration Deadline: February 15. Registration fee is non-refundable after February 15.

Target Audience: This discussion is open to anyone ready to lean into the new land of possibilities with hope, promise and enthusiasm. Individuals and groups are invited to participate.

Addressing challenges and opportunities of the pandemic requires teamwork. You are encouraged to participate with a group willing to engage in further conversation following the February 22 book discussion. Church councils are encouraged to participate as a group with other key congregational leaders. (A recording of the Zoom session will be made available to registered participants)

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