It's Not Too Late to Build a Church That Will Weather COVID-19
If you're like most of us, you’re still reeling with the ever-changing nature of our country’s COVID-19 crisis.
Not only are you having to shepherd your flock through the anxiety of these uncertain times while dealing with you own feelings about it, but you’ve also had to change your whole way of doing ministry.
Many of you are doing live online services for the very first time and hosting Zoom Bible studies instead of gathering together at the church building or in homes.
All of this technology brings its own unique challenges, especially if it’s new to you, but the bigger challenge is this:
How will your church survive this coronavirus crisis?
How can you walk through it as a strong community during a time when actually gathering as a community is hazardous and even forbidden?
Here’s the good news: it’s not too late to build a church that will weather COVID-19.
What does that look like? Here are our tips:
Connect with all your members. Now.
All of them! Multiple times. Become a regular and personal part of their life.
Call them, email them, video chat them and mail them a handwritten notecard. Find a way to get them engaged.
You probably don’t have any meetings or events on your schedule for at least 6 more weeks, so you likely have the time you need to Get. People. Engaged.
Like the chasing dog who finally caught the car, what do you do now?
Engage them in conversations and ask them how they’re doing.
Find out what their needs are, and if possible, find ways to meet those needs.
Send words of encouragement for their specific situations.
Ask them if they’re connected to what you offer online in terms of live and recorded services, Zoom study groups, and even online giving. You may be surprised how many of your regular people--even the "young ones"-- are not “tech savvy”, and would benefit greatly from just a few extra minutes of investment to get fully plugged in.
Shepherd them like you’ve always wanted to but never could because of other (legitimate) priorities, like meetings, events and services that had people in the seats in front of you.
Does this seem unrealistic because you have a larger congregation? No problem.
Get your ministry leaders and volunteers involved in this process as well. Many of them are probably not working and may have the time to serve the church in this way.
Set some measurable goals together for connecting with your people and watch the community really come together.
Build your church plans moving forward with the awareness that we'll never be the same.
While some folks will be beating down the doors once we can get back to regular church gatherings, not all of them will.
Now that people see how convenient your online service is, they may just engage with that more than physically coming to the church building.
If this happens, create more opportunities for them to engage with people outside of your Sunday morning service times.
That may mean more small service projects, more small groups, or more time spent meeting with people one-on-one for coffee or meals.
Build that into your church culture moving forward.
Online services should always have a next step that is offline, and it doesn't have to be "come to a weekend service.”
Accept that you're going to have to put WAY more effort into your online community at your church.
BUT, those people STILL need what everyone else needs – community, relationships, to know people and to be known.
Make sure everything your church does after this crisis pushes people to a next step of meeting up with others and doing life together while also taking their next step of faith in growing in their relationship with Jesus.
That’s it! A “now and later” approach to building a church that weathers this COVID-19 crisis like a superstar. We’re cheering you on!
What’s currently working for your church? Leave your best tip in the comments below!
A quick note: our Project Shepherds and Design Team are working remotely to assist you and production is still running!
If you have any questions regarding ministry in this season or preparing for the day we can once again open the doors of the church and welcome guests, please send us a message or give us a call. We’d love to walk with you through this process.
We want to do everything in our power to help you weather this storm as a church, and equip you to come out thriving on the other side.