Caring For Your Community & Congregation During COVID-19
We are in an unprecedented time. The coronavirus has caused many of us to rethink not only how we hold worship services but also how we are to continue to care for our community and congregations while practicing social distancing—or, in some cases, adhering to mandated quarantine.
Here are a few ideas to help you minister to your community in the age of coronavirus.
Leverage Facebook Live
No need to get fancy. Yes, we all want to do things with excellence, but right now is time for moving forward even if you don’t have everything perfectly set up. Don’t be afraid to go live on your main page even beyond your worship live stream. Do a short worship set, quick devotional time, or even give a “behind the scenes” at remote work from the pastor’s house—these could all be Instagram stories as well.
Digital Small Groups
Create Facebook groups, set up Zoom calls, or host Google meetups in lieu of in-person small groups. Make a quick tutorial video that shows your members how to get connected and go for it. Again, it’s not about perfection. Sure, there may be a few glitches the first time or two, but that will all be part of the fun—and something to look back on and laugh about when this is all over!
Go Old School
Ok, so depending on the demographics of your congregation, more than a few people may not have access to social media or digital platforms (or just don’t know how to use them well). It’s ok to go back to the “good old days” and activate that phone tree to call those in your congregation who don’t have email and Facebook. Let them know you are thinking of them, and see if there is something they need. And—wait for it—you can also write letters! Mail your sermon transcript and include a quick note each week. Who wouldn’t love to get a letter in the mail, right?
Outreach is Not Out of Reach
It’s true: it’s not going to be easy to do outreach and keep your distance, but it is possible! Try these outreach ideas:
- Encourage families with children to draw pictures and mail them to shut-ins.
- Put a form on your website for people to submit prayer requests or current needs (for example, food delivery).
- Do virtual outreach by offering storytime or tutoring for kids who are learning from home (you can do this in Facebook groups or through other meeting platforms).
- Share information on social media about local restaurants offering curbside food pick up.
Yes, this is a time of uncertainty, but it’s also a time of opportunity. I hope these ideas help spark your church’s creativity for how you can go and be the church for your community and continue to minister to your congregation. What are some new ways that you’re sharing? Share them with us in the comments!