By Kyle Bueermann
We are walking through days unlike we have ever experienced in any of our lifetimes. As pastors, we are faced with the reality that the vast majority of our congregations will be unable to meet indefinitely because of COVID-19.
So, what do we do? Do we simply cease meeting as a congregation? Do we tell our people, “We’ll see you when we see you?” I don’t think so.
It’s a blessing to have vast amounts of resources at our fingertips during a time like this. Unlike the last pandemic—the Spanish Flu— to hit our nation in 1918, we have the technological capabilities to “gather” as a congregation, even if we can’t be in the same room. Now, it certainly won’t be the same, but these can still be precious times of worship for us, even as they are quite different from our normal.
As we face these days, I want to give us just a few tips about how your church can gather, even if you can’t physically be together.
1. Interact with your people during the week.
Consider creative ways to interact with your people on social media throughout the week. Facebook and Twitter have simple options to create polls. You can also ask interactive questions and have people respond.
Google Forms also provides a really simple way to interact with your people. You can create prayer request forms, online guest cards, ministry-needs forms, etc. Any physical card you hand out during your service can be duplicated and turned into an online form. These forms can provide great resources for following up.
2. Guide Your Families in Worshipping at Home
One of the great opportunities we have during this time when we can’t be the “church gathered” on a regular basis is that we can celebrate being the “church scattered.”
Think through some ways you can help families worship together during these times. This does not have to be complicated. It can be as simple as a sheet with a Bible passage and a few discussion questions. You could even encourage families to send in pictures from their home gatherings that you can share on the church’s social media pages (with their permission, of course).
3. Set up a livestream.
Don’t freak out. This isn’t complicated, and many of you may already be doing it now that we’re a few weeks into this “new normal.” This can be as simple as setting a smartphone on a music stand and streaming through Facebook Live. This is free and most of your church members already have Facebook. If you need help setting up a Facebook account, go to facebook.com from your computer or download the Facebook app on your mobile device and follow the instructions.
If you happen to have a number of your people who are not on Facebook, you can livestream on YouTube, which is another free service. You’ll need to set up a Google account to do this, and I recommend setting up an account for your church. This can be as simple as [yourchurchname]@gmail.com. If you need help figuring out how to livestream on YouTube, check out their help article here.
These are interesting days for us as local congregations. But even as we are being responsible citizens by practicing social distancing, we can still obey the command of Hebrews 10:25 to not forsake meeting together. We’ll just need to be a bit creative in how we “gather.”
Click here for more helpful resources on leading your church and family during the COVID-19 pandemic.,
Published March 31, 2020