Finding Inspiration for Your Virtual Church
It’s great if your church embraced the digital age a long time ago. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted even these forward-thinking ministries. That means, in light of stay-at-home orders and general precautions, many churches have gone entirely virtually. Of course, although your church may look quite different today, that doesn’t mean you have to struggle through these changes and challenges.
With the right mindset, you’ll see that the current state of the “virtual church” opens the door to many new opportunities for growth. Here’s some inspiration to get you going and help you achieve new heights as you continue to build your community.
Explore New Technologies
Going virtual doesn’t mean you should lose that important feeling of connectedness with your church’s community. In reality, people need the church more than ever during this time, especially if they are staying at home and not able to attend a physical service. The key is using the right technology to keep everyone engaged.
Video conferencing tools like Zoom can allow for services to be held as close to normal as possible. After all, sticking to a normal routine is a very good thing. Moreover, you can consider creating a Slack channel or Facebook Group to encourage interaction amongst churchgoers.
Your primary goal should be to keep as much of the normal church atmosphere and outlets intact as possible. Even if doing so virtually is tough, it’s also necessary. Your ministry’s groups should also try to continue functioning as normal as possible. Think of using dedicated chat channels for youth group members or sing-along video calls for the choir.
Survey Your Attendees
People’s wants and needs are very different today than they were just a couple of months ago. This makes it important to stay on top of these new wants and needs so that your church can properly address them. This is essential during these challenging times.
Your congregation can also be a source of great inspiration in themselves if you just give them the opportunity to share their input. Let them know that their opinions are valued and ask some open-ended questions about how they feel about the new virtual church and what you can do to help them feel connected and supported during these times.
Proactively Address Needs
Whether or not certain needs are brought up in the survey, being proactive about your congregation’s needs during this time will help ensure your community stays strong. This means making it easy for attendees to put in prayer requests, offering one-on-one distance counseling sessions, and staying in touch with your churchgoers in general.
More than anything, make it known to your attendees how they can interact with the church in new ways. Consider giving particular attention to churchgoers who may find the technical aspects of virtual church services challenging and reach out with personalized assistance.
Preparing troubleshooting guides for whatever new software you’re using and sharing those guides in advance can also help you avoid spending too much time offering “tech support” for your congregation as they adapt to the changes.
Your church is still hard at work during these times and you need your community’s support now more than ever. Likewise, your congregation is in need of a dose of positivity to keep them looking up during these unsure times. Even if you have put a halt to some of your bigger projects, there are surely things your church is doing to help support the community as the pandemic continues.
From out-of-work families, to kids being home, to people closely guarding their health, your church can do many things to assist. Offering free meals and care packages for the needy is one great idea that would make a major impact, but there are also lower cost ideas.
For instance, you might consider getting volunteers to prepare Sunday School packets so children can continue their teachings at home. Alternatively, to make up for the services that attendees are lacking, try starting a religious book club, assembling a playlist of worship music, or simply going live at a set time each week to answer questions and interact.
Once you have identified some actions you can take to help your community, whether they’re big things or small things, make sure you’re sharing them on social media. This will help amplify the positivity you’re creating while also providing a platform to talk about the importance of gifting during this time and the difference a donation can make in your church’s efforts.
Encourage Digital Gifting
Every church leader is sympathetic to the fact that their community is going through some tough financial times. That means giving money may not be the easiest thing right now. That’s true even for those who previously gave often or gave a lot.
In these unsure times, job security is in question for an unprecedented number of industries. Families also have dealt with concerns of health, education for their children, and finding a new routine. As such, it’s easy for churchgoers to forget about how important it is to donate and support the church during these times.
Sharing what your church is doing can go far in reminding people to give. Of course, sometimes the best thing to do is come out and ask for a donation. Now is the time to be reaching out to donors new and old, and you should be paying special attention to your most reliable donors, especially those in the most likely position to be able to make a large donation at this time.
It will take time — there’s no doubt of that. You’ll have to make some personal phone calls. Additionally, email outreach will help your church continue to collect the donations it needs. This will help you keep moving forward and stay strong during the pandemic and beyond.
Grow Through Change
It doesn’t matter whether your church goes back to the old way of doing things. The important thing to remember is that every change and challenge offers an opportunity. Each change is a chance to learn and grow. While the pandemic has led to tough times, a lot of positivity can come out of it. So long as your church maintains the right attitude, you can inspire your community. In doing so, you can help them embrace this new way of life, no matter how long these changes stick.