5 Things Every Church Needs To Do During COVID-19
While we often think of our church websites as the gateways to our “real churches”, reality has turned upside down for churches around the world as personal ministry is restricted from being done face-to-face. Suddenly, digital ministry serves as the primary tool for hundreds of thousands of churches around the globe and most are realizing that, quite frankly, they weren’t ready for it.
The good news however, is that this doesn’t spell the end for ministry. On the contrary, many churches are starting to see how heavily they relied on Sunday mornings to be their only time to interact with their people. Now churches are looking outside of traditional methods to not only survive this time of separation, but thrive and build new bridges of connection. This article will highlight just some of the things you should be doing to engage your people and continue adding to the Kingdom through remote and digital means.
Embrace Digital Solutions
The first major adjustment for most is moving past the idea of simply “riding things out til it’s all back to normal.” Many political leaders feel we are still months away from large gatherings safely meeting again. Those who aren’t adapting to digital ministry solutions are already finding themselves on the brink of closure, permanently. Thankfully, we live in a time where digital tools like websites, online giving, and social media provide a means for people to stay engaged and connected with their churches. Keeping track of your people and the interactions between church leadership and members is also greatly simplified through church management software.
Resetting Your Ministry Goals
How do you track attendance when no one can attend? Should a building fund still be getting as much attention when you don’t know how this can delay the progress? What about that missions trip that might get cancelled? With the change in ministry landscape, this will mean a shift in ministry goals and priorities for most churches. This doesn’t mean that you have to throw your old goals away, but you’ll need to look at metrics and methods you probably haven’t used before. Instead of physical attendance, you’ll need to keep track of live stream views and engagement with comments, social media, emails, and phone calls. Rather than worry about a physical building, set up some new investment goals towards digital infrastructure and remote operations that will allow you to communicate and stay connected with people, near and far.
Knowing Your People
You might already be tracking live stream views and online interactions, but what do these numbers mean in the bigger picture of ministry? Whenever you have the chance to connect with someone, make your interactions meaningful, with the focus on building and strengthening your relationships with your people. Ask them open-ended questions about themselves. Don’t just hover around theological questions (which are still important, of course), but get to know them like you would a friend. What are their hobbies or interests? What do they do for a living? How can you pray for them? It’s perfectly fine to call someone and just talk about non-ministry things during the conversation. Hopefully, you’ll find this to be a fruitful time where you get to know several members of your church better than you have before!
Building a Remote Workforce
While you set out to connect with your members and visitors, don’t forget to keep your volunteers connected and engaged. Host regular online meetings through Zoom or whatever you have available. If you don’t have reliable internet speeds in your area, set up a conference call and have people dial in. Volunteers still play a vital role in communicating to your people and keeping your ministries going. Make use of shared file systems like Google Drive or Dropbox to easily collaborate with people online and share any documents or files between each other. Track their activity and involvement through the process within your church management or planning software. Take time to ask each of them how they’re doing in the midst of everything and how God is working in their lives. If you have volunteer teams, communicate to your leaders and have them communicate with their teammates so that everyone is staying connected.
Planning for the Future
While we expect that things will be slow for re-opening church, it’s never too early to start planning ahead for safety and adherence to any governmental regulations. Meet with the rest of your team to discuss new policies and planning. Determine if there are any changes that need to be made to the location of entrances/exits or gathering places around your church campus and what kind of sanitation supplies and procedures need to be used before and after service. Make sure to communicate new changes openly to your members and set expectations on their first Sunday back, while celebrating the opportunity to see each other in person again. Above all, don’t abandon the tools and techniques that have fostered new ministries and relationships during this time of physical separation. Incorporate these new digital strategies and resources into your future ministry plans as a complement to your other in-person ministry operations.
Once you’ve got your strategy, you need the right tools for the job. Clover offers everything you need to power your digital ministry for the long run. Right now, you can sign up for the Clover People bundle that includes the Clover People church management software, CloverSites websites with hosting, Clover Media, Clover Give and MinistryOne church mobile app!