Even if your church or spiritual center has reopened, with social distancing in place and strict capacity limits, many of your members will remain at home—or only engage in limited live activities. Not to worry as there are a variety of ways you can keep your congregation connected during the pandemic. Here are some tips for creating a communications strategy. Be sure to highlight your strategy on your church lobby signs, exterior signs, website, social media, and in your electronic newsletter.
Streaming Your Weekly Service
If you haven’t yet, it’s time to start streaming your service. Keep things simple and have your pastor or religious leader live stream from their laptop at home or from their office at church. If you are hosting live but limited services, you can live stream or record and post later. You aren’t alone if your church has never recorded video sermons, or if you have only recorded audio. With the right camera, microphone, and video software you can easily stream, record, edit, and share your services.
Enlist a congregation member who is familiar with video technology—and don’t count out teens and young adults as communication technology is second nature to them. Here are a few software options to consider, the least expensive of which (Vimeo) is just $7 per month.
Small Group Meetings
In addition to live streaming your services, you must facilitate small group meetings. This includes groups where some of the members are in-person and some (or all) remain in the safety and comfort of their home. Zoom is one of the more popular tools, but if you will be discussing sensitive or confidential information, you may want to utilize a more secure alternative. Tools like FaceTime, WhatsApp, Google Duo, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Skype, and Teams are all more secure than Zoom.
If you are using project management software it may also have phone and video functions. You can of course phone conference but seeing one another face to face elevates the level of connection—which is particularly important with our already limited contact. For privacy and comfort, members have the choice to keep their video off during the meeting.
These small group tools keep your staff connected and ensure your youth group, women’s group, men’s group, singles group, couples group, and more can continue to meet. You can also use these tools for one-on-one couples and private spiritual counseling, as well as to remain connected with your community outreach programs.
Elevating Staff Communication
Your staff already has email in place, but it may be time to consider a few upgrades. You might want to create a daily group text message, maybe to greet your staff each morning. However, it may be time to transition to project management software. Even if your staff is small, the software will help to keep everyone organized and on the same page. You can create group and individual projects, shared and individual project timelines, create project milestones, automate progress alerts, view each team member’s progress, instant message, and more.
Some of the easiest and most cost-effective PM software options include Zoho, Trello, and Teamwork. For communications only, Slack is a popular option. Consider adding your church small groups to these tools too, as they may be searching for better ways to stay connected.
Announcing Your Digital Options
Take a multi-pronged approach to inform your congregation how they can stay connected. Even if your church is open, many members will come less frequently. Or, they will return and may have to quarantine if they are exposed to or diagnosed with the coronavirus. So be sure to add your digital options to your church lobby signs.
- Post your digital activities and services on your LED exterior church signs
- Post digital activities and services on your interior and church lobby signs
- Add a new pop-up, new page, or informational text to your website Home page
- Share your most recent digital outreach options on social media
- Share your most recent service on Facebook, your website, and other digital platforms
- Pin your digital service and communication options to the top of your Facebook page for easy visitor access—be sure to unpin and re-pin current announcements
- Include digital updates in your monthly bulletin or newsletter
- If your newsletters are quarterly, consider creating a mini monthly COVID-19 safety and digital update
- Send out an email announcement to all email subscribers, active and inactive, as many are returning to church to help get through these uncertain times
Expand Your Digital Options
The communication tips above are geared primarily toward maintaining your typical church services and activities. However, now is the ideal time to expand your outreach, both to your community and your congregation. Collectively, we are more in need of connection and engagement than ever before—so consider ways you can spread light and love online. One of the ways you can achieve this is by hosting additional virtual activities.
This could be live streaming spiritual singalongs, themed discussions, age-appropriate virtual kid’s activities, record a daily devotional, open group conversations, advise on non-profits in need of assistance, and more. Share your virtual outreach on your website and social media and advertise them by creating a Facebook Group. You can even promote your digital events with inexpensive Facebook ad campaigns, starting as low as $5.
Upgrade Your Church Signage
Many churches are upgrading to or adding new Digital Signage. This includes their roadway signs and church lobby signs. With the ability to view from a distance you can keep your congregation and community informed as they drive by on their way to work, school, or to and from essential errands. Strategically place your new church lobby signs so that members can social distance while reading the sign, or so that a sign or two can be viewed from a window.
If you are in need of new exterior or interior church lobby signs, we invite you to reach out to Mega LED Technology. From scrolling signs to HD LED signs that can post images and videos, we will custom design your sign to meet your needs. Reach out today to learn more!
One Reply to “Keeping Your Congregation Connected During The Pandemic”
Good post. I am dealing with a few of these issues as well..