3 Things Your Church Needs to Hear
Living through the impact of COVID is one of the most chaotic experiences many of us have faced. Your church has done great things and will continue to do so! Your heart is for the people of your church and your community. Sometimes, between all that’s going on, the changing plans, and the long to-do list, it can make knowing what to say a bit fuzzy when you sit down at your computer.
What people need to hear right now in 2020 isn’t all that different from what they heard in 2019. When you can focus on encouragement, a plan for the week clearly communicated, and what people can do, the once fuzzy words become clearer and you’ll have better clarity on what to say.
First, here’s a truth all can cling to:
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.
A gentle reminder for those who need it (and I count myself in this bucket!)
With schedules thrown off, it can be easy to rush to the next task on the list. It’s essential to take the time to pray, seek guidance and inspiration from the Spirit. Taking this time prepares you to create messages and content for the three areas covered below.
It’s safe to stay that everyone finds themselves facing struggles at some point. Some grapple with scary financial pressures. Parents find themselves under the stress of working from home while caring for children and keeping tabs on their aging parents. Seniors alone in their homes with little-to-no in-person contact.
Encouraging one another has a ripple effect as that person receives the blessing of hope and kind words to keep going. Keep creating and seeking inspiration to lift up your church and your community.
Share in posts and videos what scripture tells us about struggles. Depression, loss, hardship are all included in the Bible. The stories show us biblical truths on how to live through them.
When someone shares their struggle, acknowledge it. Sit in that struggle with people. Recognize what people are going through with empathy and grace.
To take it a step further, call on your church’s prayer warriors and local missions’ team to reach out to people personally. Having others to call on people in need both delegates tasks and helps to protect your time and energy to focus on communications. It’s a great way for the people of your church to partner with communications and leadership (more on that later).
When possible, highlight the ways your church serves in the community despite COVID. Hosting supply drives, delivering food, and all of the other things that go on throughout the week. Sharing stories give hope and help people to see ministry in action.
The plan for THIS WEEK
Practical planning comes in to play here. While state/community schedules may be uncertain, you can communicate what your church has planned for THIS WEEK. Of course, if you’re in an area that has been more stable, then you can stretch that timeline out further – the point being, share the plan for a set time frame.
When you share the plan, be clear and encouraging – and be ready to change course if needed.
Tips to make things as clear and encouraging as possible:
- Focus on positive, present tense language to highlight what you GET to do. For example, rather than “9 am services have been canceled for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19”, focus on what is offered. Something like, “You’re invited to join us one of two ways: here on campus at 11 am, or online at yourchurch.website.”
- Avoid weak, passive phrasing. Perhaps, maybe, and other wishy-washy phrases intend to be forward-looking and hopeful. They all too often have the unintended consequence of being confusing.
- Show, rather than tell, how you’re keeping people safe. Communicate health precautions by SHOWING what you are doing to protect people from COVID and what you are asking of your church. This presents a fantastic storytelling opportunity to take photos or videos of leaders, staff, and volunteers making preparations to clean and prepare the building for people to gather.
Communications plan for last-minute changes.
Almost every church leader has had Sunday plans change mid-week. You can make things easier by having a communications plan in place for those instances. This allows you to address and communicate those changes as quickly as possible. Details will vary by church, however, you’ll want to include this time-saving 1-2 punch:
- Have a set page on your website to share updates or the current schedule. When you make updates, but sure to note the date/time so people can see how current the information is. If you haven’t set this up, or haven’t touched it since March, no worries! No time like the present to update for what’s going on and incorporate it into your regular communications.
- Point all digital updates back to this page. No need to craft new, detailed content for email, texts, apps, etc. You can push out a short message through each of these platforms that indicate there’s an important update and funnel everyone back to that one page with all the information. This allows you to cover your bases quickly while ensuring that everyone receives one overall message.
Continuing the call and direction to serve
As things change, keep returning to how to serve. Through prayer, volunteering, discipleship, giving – now is the time for the people of each church to keep leaning into serving their community and one another.
Team up with different leaders in your church to highlight the awesome things that happen through those ministries and invite others to join in! These both encourage (as discussed above) and inspire others to join in.
Shifting the focus to helping others also eases the loneliness, boredom, or frustration felt with being cooped up at home and life being altogether different. We know from scripture that God created each of us for a purpose—feeling that purpose can mean all the difference in how someone faces each day.
As you face each new day and commit your plans to the Lord, review your tasks, and maintain focus on these areas to lead and keep your church on mission.
Share with your team to encourage and inspire! If your comms to-do list leaves you overwhelmed, keep scrolling – help is a click away.
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