Special Resource: Reaching New People During the Coronavirus Crisis
In response to churches who have asked, “Should we stop trying to reach new people while the Coronavirus crisis is going on?”, I want to offer several suggestions.
While obviously we can’t focus right now on big events or community activities, here are some things we can do:
Many churches are increasing their online presence and streaming worship services or at least audio tapes of messages. If you are not currently worshipping then video-tape a message from the Pastor and post it on social media. Send that message to friend, saying, “Thought you might find this helpful”. This practice may introduce someone to the faith.
Offer an online book study and publicize it through your social media. Then invite a friend to join you. This may actually be an easier invite and more readily accepted, as a less threatening way to introduce someone to your church.
For kids who would usually be in Sunday School: Send home packets with lessons and activities that the family can do together. Have a mid-week video call to check in. Youth groups can have similar check-ins.
Have church members submit devotions, or a favorite scripture and post a daily devotional on your website, Facebook, etc.
Set up phone systems to keep in touch with both members and others in the community.
If your Teams and committees are switching to video calls for their meetings, as a Vitality Team, ask for a few minutes on that call and help each Team plan ways in which they can connect with the community in the future. You can build more “allies” for this process during this crisis time.
Support a local business: Many small businesses are severely hurt by the crisis; support a business online, order from them and recommend them. Many churches are picking out one business to “adopt”.
Plan ahead: as this crisis lessens, and as community life returns to normal, there will be the activities like parades, town events, etc. resuming. Look at community calendars and plan ahead to be present at those events.
Think local-this a time when members can help out neighbors with shopping, keep in touch via phone or email, and minister to neighbors, many of whom don’t have a church home.
Community needs-communities may have needs during this time and there may be opportunities to serve. Food pantries are particularly being stretched with students out of school.
Do “shout-outs” on social media to groups that continue to serve the community during this time; nurses, police, fire, first responders, etc. This will reinforce that the church is there for the community.
Work on self-if you find you have extra time at home, then use this time to pray, read scripture and sharpen your own personal vision and goals.
Often at times of crisis, people turn to the church. Through social media, and personal communication may we offer hope and reassurance that the God we worship is so much greater than any disease. If in our attitude and deeds we can exemplify Paul’s words that “nothing can separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus”, we will minister to many people we might not otherwise reach.
I hope you will be safe and well during these turbulent times. But as a church, we do not have to “shut down”, even if we are not gathering together to worship for a while. The central purpose of the church to spread the Good News and make disciples continues.
I am praying for you in these days ahead.
Nickerson Coaching is offering special "Just In Time Coaching" for the Cov19 Crisis