The way we do church has changed. No one is quite certain what the changes will look like exactly. We are navigating these transitions with care and caution. We aren’t completely on the other side of this pandemic but we are slowly coming together again. So how do we do this and what does it look like?
There are a few things churches can begin to do to create the safest environment possible.
- Continue to offer online viewing opportunities
- There will still be many people that decide to shelter in place. Mainly those considered to be more at risk for serious complications if they contract the coronavirus. There are people over 65, those with weakened immune systems so staying at home may still be the wisest option. It’s important to maintain the opportunity for them to participate in your worship service virtually.
- Train, empower, and commission lay leaders to stay connected to those that shelter in place
- While in-person services and small groups may begin again, those that shelter in place will be desperate for community and connection. Staff members may not be able to stay personally connected to every church member that is sheltering in place. You can equip your lay leaders to set up a schedule where they weekly have a connection point with a group of those staying at home. This will be a huge ministry to these members, but also to the church as a whole.
- Eliminate as many touchpoints as possible
- Never before have we been asked to consider touchpoints in this way. However, keep touchpoints sanitized and clean, it’s imperative. Members and visitors will only feel as safe as your building is clean. Technology will help immensely with this by QR codes for check-in for your children’s ministry or online check-in.
- Promote online opportunities with a church app
- If you create an app-specific for your church this will allow your members to give financially through the app, keep up with events, and even take notes during the sermon.
- Invest in gloves and masks
- While, hopefully, we won’t need them forever as we begin to open our churches back up, it’s wise and essential to have them present and available. Your greeters can use them when opening doors and volunteers will need them in the children’s area. Additionally, they will be needed if you have an area where coffee is served and certainly when you clean and sanitize your building.
- Adapt by moving away from hymnals and bulletins
- Although many churches are used to using these weekly, they are touchpoints. Post information normally posted in the bulletin on the church website, through social media, or through an automated phone call. Hymns can be shown on a screen in the sanctuary instead of using a physical hymnal that can possibly also, unfortunately, spread germs from one attendee to another.
Most of us can feel resistant or uncomfortable to change that’s not our choice. It isn’t easy when we feel changes are being forced upon us. However, we’re in a strange new season, where we have to adapt and change so we can come back together.
As leaders, it’s important for us to model a willingness to adjust to change so those in the faith community will lead the way to restore community.