With so many churches moving to online only due to the Coronavirus outbreak, I’ve been having lots of conversations with pastors and church leaders about their plans for the next several weeks. Many pastors are wondering what to do and what to focus on. I’ve compiled a list of several ideas…in no particular order. Consider these 10 options:
- If you are in a large church with video recording technology, offer it to small churches that don’t. Give them the opportunity to pre-record services and messages in your facility during the week (since your building is now empty anyway) so they can be played later on Sundays for their congregation. If you’re in a small church with limited video technology, find a large church and ask. If you’re in the Central Valley area, you can contact me at Reach Consulting and I’ll help you find a church that can help you out.
- For churches that can afford to keep staff busy, start doing maintenance that was otherwise deferred. Nobody is using your buildings for weeks…now is the time to make that mess! Paint, clean out closets, throw stuff away, repair or clean the carpets, fix holes in the walls, etc.
- Deliver food to the elderly who are now subject to staying home no matter what. Get college and high school students involved in delivering food to those who cannot go out. School is out for many teens and college students…use them!
- If you are livestreaming your services and struggle to preach to an empty room, ask the worship team or a few staff or select volunteers to come and sit in the front rows, keeping the limit to just 10-20 people. This will give you enough of an audience to feel like real church without have a large gathering that is now unacceptable. Generally speaking, worship teams can play to an empty room fairly well because they often practice that way, so there’s not a lot of change for them.
- If you have done an Invite Your One campaign that encourages members to invite that one friend to church, adjust it to Invite Your One Home and participate in an online watch party. Many people will never come to a church even when invited by a friend. But chances are much higher they’ll come to your house. Encourage and educate your church members that now is the greatest opportunity they’ve ever had! Chances are…their friends are bored too and need a reason to get out of their own home! Now is your opportunity to invite them to hear a great message.
- Consider preaching on and produce notes for small groups that meet in people’s homes, focusing on the following topics:
- Marriage and intimacy. People are going to be spending a lot more time at home together!
- Developing relationships with your kids.
- Developing a plan for finances, savings, and emergencies.
- Dealing with fear and the “unknowns” of life.
- While everyone needs to plan and focus on THIS Sunday, consider that this scenario will be extended for several months. Get your calendar out and start planning for change as it relates to EVERY SINGLE EVENT for the next several months. The concern is not so much that the government will ask or require churches to not meet for that long, but rather the cancelation of events will have a cascading effect. It may not be easy to push that women’s ministry event back 1 month because during that month you may have an already schedule kids’ event, etc. It’s quite possible this cascading effect will last six months or more.
- If you think your church will be impacted financially, start making a plan NOW. Consider how much in reserves you have, how much you need in revenue, what you can cut in expenses, and what your overall plan will be should revenue drop. Lay out a 3-phase plan over the course of a few weeks to months. Then inform your church of that plan so they can be encouraged to continue giving, but also be prepared in understanding the changes that are coming.
- Teach on how to study the Word for yourself. Christians need to learn how to self-feed and self-teach the Bible. Too many Christians just want to be fed on Sunday morning from the pastor. Teach them how to read the Bible, study, discuss, and grow on their own and in small groups.
- Be humorous. Everyone is so stressed out! It’s a challenging time. Everything seems to change every 15 minutes and it’s hard to keep up. The whole world seems to have turned upside down over night. While we should try to not offend those who disagree about the situation or think differently, we can make light of the situation as it pertains to us. Post or share funny stories of what you’re experiencing, make a fun video of something you’re doing to pass the time at home or how slow the office is or what your staff is doing to stay upbeat. Everyone needs a good laugh when tension is high.
I will update with more ideas as I hear of them. If you have some ideas, please comment and share!
Focus on God. Enjoy the good. He’s in control.
You’ve got this!