5 Things You Need to Communicate When Reopening Your Church
With the COVID-19 pandemic still lingering into the final quarter of the year, decisions are looming for many churches as they consider reopening their campuses. Whether you're in the planning stages, or already in the process of reopening your church, it's important to make sure that your parishioners know what to expect. For their safety and the community's, lay out each step in detail so there’s no surprises. Each church is unique in how and when they’ll reopen, so use the 5 considerations listed here as a guideline for your own communication.
1. Sanitizing procedures
Upfront communication about sanitizing procedures provides people with peace of mind when they come back to church. Set expectations that church staff will clean the bathrooms after each use or a volunteer will open the doors so that handles aren’t touched by multiple hands. Let people know the roles of volunteers and staff have shifted to include sanitizing pews,door handles, and other durable surfaces before, during, and after services. This will help ensure everyone follows the safety rules you’ve set in place.
2. Service times, capacity, and seating arrangements
Inform people of the changes you’re making to your service schedule. Many churches are adding an extra Sunday service or a few Saturday services because they’re limiting how many people can attend.
To help you keep track of attendance and maintain local health guidelines on limited capacity, create a form that uses tickets to limit how many people can register to attend and select the services and locations. Embed the form on your website and include the link for people to sign up on social media, emails, and other places you reach your congregation online.
Also, give people an idea of what it will be like when they arrive. Some churches are indicating which doors are entrance only and exit only to support social distancing guidelines. Whatever your plan is, lay it out for people, so they know what to expect before arrival.
3. Attendee Requirements
Provide clear guidelines and expectations for families and individuals as they come. Include details like where they can enter at, how to get checked in, and whether they need to wear masks during service.
4. Touchless Giving Options
Encourage people to use their phones for a touchless offering by texting a gift or using your mobile app, rather than passing around an offering plate that could spread germs. For those who still bring cash or check, have them drop them off in a drop box in the foyer.
Display your text giving number on-screen (and leave it up for a little longer than normal so your congregation can continue to be generous. If you’re temporarily removing Bibles, and note cards from the seats, ask people to bring their own or use a Bible app.
5. Other service options
Some members of your church won’t be ready to physically come back just yet, so make sure you provide your live streaming information. Always include your online giving options, so those watching from home can participate during the offering moment. Remember, not everyone is going to be confident about coming back to church, especially if they’re higher risk. Let people know that it’s okay to participate from home!
Above all, find the balance between welcoming newcomers and keeping the health and safety of your visitors at the forefront of your thoughts and communications around new procedures. Share the heart behind your new guidelines and you'll find the majority of your people will come to understand the need for these policies.
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