In times of stress and uncertainty, many people turn to their religion for comfort. When life seems out of control, it can be nice to return to a higher power and put your faith in something bigger. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been more important than ever. Unfortunately though, due to social distancing regulations, churches are unable to meet in-person. But even as individuals are being asked to stay at home and keep gatherings to limited capacities, the Lord is still hard at work bringing His word to homes across the world.
Church leaders are quickly adapting and finding ways to engage their communities even during this time apart. There are new, innovative ways to connect with your congregation from your home to theirs. If you’re trying to safely create content while encouraging continued engagement with religion during this time, here are a few tips and ideas to continue your good work.
Learn Live Streaming
First things first, you need to come up with a plan for how you want to hold your church services from home. Larger churches with high-tech programming may already be familiar with the live-stream options or quality recordings of sermons and worship on Sunday morning. Smaller congregations may need a bit of a crash course in live-streaming. Remember, this digital content is not necessarily out there to get likes or subscribers, but rather to encourage community and connection for people stuck at home. Stay consistent and constant with this content. Even though your congregants can’t physically be in church, try to provide the same format of service and positive encouragement from their computer screens.
Encourage At-Home Participation
When you’re in church, you are an active participant in the service. Greeting others, singing along to worship, and maybe even responding to the pastor’s sermon. Create content that engages people in similar ways at home. Put words on the screen so they can sing along with worship or publish discussion questions after the sermon for families to dive into. Even taking communion is possible from home with prepackaged communion elements that families can order right to their homes. God works in mysterious ways, and He can enter your home just as easily as He can enter the church.
Content for All Ages
On any given Sunday, you have a sermon for adults and content for kids as well. Try to keep this going even in quarantine. Create digital content for kids, youth, and seniors alike. Whether it’s bible story coloring pages, digital hangouts, or online bible studies, help all ages stay connected in their own way.
Continue to Encourage Giving
During this unprecedented time, your church still needs financial support from its members. Set up online giving options and encourage your congregation to continue trusting God with their finances. This will also allow you to reach out and directly help more people affected by the COVID pandemic.
Keep Everyone Informed
Staying open with your congregation has never been more essential. Keep everyone informed of your church’s plans for quarantine and eventually reopening through email, calls, social media, and any other ways you can stay connected.
Reach Out to Members
Some of your congregants may be having a difficult time, whether it be health-wise or financially during this time. Make a conscious effort to reach out to those members who are at risk. This can be an especially scary time for elder adults or those without reliable health insurance. Traditional medishare plans may not be covering extended hospital stays or even basic tests for COVID-19. You can practically help your community by helping them find group insurance health plans that will cover all their patient needs.
Stay Available and Connected
The biggest secret to encouraging community during this time is to simply stay available and connected. Be sure someone is answering the phone in case a community member in need of care or assistance. Keep bible studies and groups going. Provide a safe space for everyone to continue coming together so we can get through this unprecedented time as one body of God.