5 Easy Ways To Maintain Church Connection During Coronavirus
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Church Connection During Difficult Times
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has managed to put us all in the same proverbial boat and there seem to be fewer answers than questions, even at the time of this writing. There is no better time than now for your church to up the technology game. We can only imagine if this had happened 20-30 years ago. Without today’s available technology, the church would have been in an entirely different situation. But in 2020, churches have the opportunity to thrive in a challenging time brought on by the pandemic through leveraging live streaming, various social media platforms, and website interactivity — email, messaging and video communication.
What About Smaller Churches?
Even smaller churches have opportunities during this challenging time. Sure, many larger churches have been streaming services and utilizing social media for quite a while, and it’s already part of their marketing playbook. But, smaller churches need to adapt now and make the changes that will position them to reach more people long after the TP shortage of 2020 has passed. The best way to start is to start using what you already have, only smarter.
Helpful Church and Coronavirus Resources
7 Ways To Maintain Connection
Many churches, who haven’t already, are turning to Facebook Live to connect with their congregation and livestream their services. My church has been doing this for quite some time, so we were well-prepared, but it’s a reasonably inexpensive way to reach (and even grow) your audience. Some pastors are using Facebook Live every day to share uplifting messages or Bible verses. Any pastor could pull this off with a smart phone and they could do it from wherever they happen to be. Facebook Live is a free platform and it’s more about the message than the production.
Zoom For Group Meetings
Many churches, including my own, have turned to Zoom for group meetings. This is a great way to livestream a video conference so that teams can stay visually connected throughout this period. Whether you are in a small group, a ministry or prayer team, or a worship team, schedule a weekly or semi-monthly meeting on Zoom to connect (and reconnect) with the members who serve the church.
While there are other options, Zoom is the leader in enterprise video communications and it’s pretty easy to set up and schedule meetings. There is a free option that gives you a pretty good head start and then paid options (still cheap) that can take you a long way.
Pre-Recorded Videos and Resources
Many churches are pre-recording a message and posting online at the beginning of the weekend for their church family and others to access on-demand. If you don’t have a camera available, it’s likely someone in your congregation does. You may even find an aspiring videographer that would love to serve in a way that uses their gifts. Even if you have to hire out freelance, you should be able to get a nice video for a couple of hundred dollars. There are other services like Life.Church that have made many online resources, like kids videos, free to use. Quite remarkable. Check them out. There are some great resources you can use for your own church here.
Add Or Improve Online Giving Options
Online giving options are key for churches to maintain giving while they are unable to hold services in the church. Many churches have already implemented online giving and some receive the majority of the tithes and gifts through an online platform. This is big, especially during difficult times as these. If you do have online giving in place but aren’t receiving 50% or more of your tithes and offerings online, now is the time to take a closer look and possibly offer additional ways to give.
People in your church should be able to give easily on your website (without an account) and through a mobile app or text to give option. This is really a minimum requirement. Be sure to have all of the options easy to find on your website and always mention them during (every) service just in case someone missed it, including visitors and new members.
Improve Your Website
Last, but certainly not least, this is a great time to reevaluate your church website to see if there are ways to improve. One thing is certain, and many churches don’t realize it yet — the church website is the new front door to the church. The church website has always been important, even before the shelter-in-place orders came upon us, but now it’s even more important.
Most people will check out a church’s website at least once before they visit for the first time. They will watch a service or two before they show up in-person. If they can’t find the information they are looking for they will back up to the Google search results and find another church. It’s simply a sign of the times and most will simply not spend a few, possibly uncomfortable, hours on a Sunday morning to find out that a church is not a good fit for them. They want the experience online to remove questions they may have prior to a visit.
Do not underestimate the value and power your website holds in growing the church and deepening engagement in the community. We haven’t even touched on those who aren’t looking for a church, but who have felt-needs. This is a massive opportunity to reach those in the community who may not know you and may not even be looking for a church.
Make sure that your church website meets the minimum requirement and that your message comes shining through. And, make sure that your website can be found online by using an SEO strategy to optimize your content for Google search. During these challenging times, we all need hope. We all need to know that there is someone much bigger than this circumstance we find ourselves in. And, we all need a solid foundation to stand on during, and after, COVID-19 is a distant memory.