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Communcation, Connection & Care Ministries during COVID-19

April 17, 2020
Communcation, Connection & Care Ministries during COVID-19

This article is one part of a complete guide for church ministry during COVID-19.

Find the rest of the guide here

 

Everyone in local church ministry has experienced the difficulty of keeping church members in the loop. Leaders should think critically and creatively about what’s being communicated and how it is being communicated. There are ways to help your church communicate and connect with one another, while also caring for one another during this time. Below are some considerations for communication, connection and care ministries:

 

    1. Communication
      1. Who should communicate on behalf of the church?
        1. Unify your messages, and especially, the messenger. Decide on a single, central and fully understood source of information. This is not so much about the mode of communication (i.e. mail, online, phone calls, etc.), but rather the person(s) responsible for church communication. Who is the person/team that will determine what is communicated and also when, where and how it will be communicated?
      2. What needs to be communicated?
        1. Any communication during this time should be intentional, honest and relevant.   
        2. Be mindful of the volume of communication going out at any one time. Find the balance of giving enough information for people to be informed and giving so much information that people are overwhelmed. You don’t want them to feel isolated and out of the loop, but you also don’t want to give them information overload.
        3. Create an interim home (landing) page on the church website to clearly lay out the church’s strategy during the crisis. 
        4. List the church number and emails for staff members on a screen during service and also in high traffic areas such as the home page of the church website.
      3. How should communication happen?
        1. Now that the initial reactionary phase is past, moving forward our communication can’t simply be “join us online.” A church should not settle for only one form of communication.
        2. More personal forms of communication can be very effective during this time, such as:
          1. Times of pastoral live chat on social media. 
          2. Designated times for conversations with the pastor via Zoom meeting or conference call. 
        3. Take the time to provide less tech savvy church members ways to learn how to access church staff, information and meetings using technology.
        4. Take the time to find the most effective way to communicate with those members who are less tech savvy, or who perhaps don’t have adequate cell or internet service at home to stay connected online.  

 

    1. Connection

 

      1. Connection to church members
        1. Create a closed Facebook group for church members to connect and encourage one another.
        2. Remind church members to text, FB message, or reach out to someone they are missing from the church family. 
        3. Encourage Sunday School teachers/deacons/ministry leaders to send hand-written notes to those needing encouragement. 
        4. Ask church members to host service “watch parties” on Sunday morning. These groups should be limited to 10 people or less. These groups can gather, have a potluck meal and watch the weekly service together.
        5. Opportunity may arise for live streaming or pre-recording certain special events.
          1. In the case a church member passing away during this time of no large group gatherings, with the family’s permission, the funeral service could be live-streamed allowing friends and family to view the service online.
          2. In the case of a new baby being born, the parents and family of the newborn could meet with the pastor via Zoom for a prayer of dedication and blessing. This video could be pre-recorded and then shown during the weekly service.
          3. In the case of a new convert being baptized or new family joining the church, a pre-recording of the baptism or the introduction of the new family could be made and then shown during the weekly service.  

 

      1. Connection to guests and those making decisions
        1. Create a digital version of your connection card (name, email, kids’ names, phone...use Google forms, etc.) 
        2. Follow up through text
          1. Check out “Text in Church” connection and follow up service by clicking here.
        3. Select a small group of lay leaders dedicated to watching the live or pre-recorded service looking for comments in the chat feature to follow up with those leaving comments or making a response.  

 

    1. Care

 

      1. Ask permission to visit people at their place of residence, but not in the house. Stay at a distance on the front porch or the foot of the front steps. During these “front porch” visits, church announcements can be discussed, tithes & offerings can be collected, prayer can be offered, and specific needs can be discovered and addressed. 
      2. Engage the deacon ministry in the care ministry by dividing up the church families and asking the deacons to call them weekly to check on them and pray with them.   
      3. Develop care packages for the shut in, elderly, or families in need, and deliver them by dropping them off on the front porch.
      4. Small groups of 10 or less can visit senior adults, and from the foot of the porch or on the front lawn can sing hymns and pray for them. (Non-Christmas “Caroling”)