Church community during the coronavirus pandemic
While we are unable to physically meet or visit there are ways in which we can remain, or even strengthen our church communities. For some reflections on digital church in the coronavirus crisis see www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/Why-God-s-hybrid-Church-is-still-open-for-business
Staying in contact
At a time of lockdown make sure you have ways of keeping in touch with your church community, including those without internet access.
- Do you have contacts for all of the church community on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram?
- Do you have email addresses?
- Do you have phone numbers of those who are not online?
You could arrange collectively to watch a live-streamed service from a church that is regularly doing this. See details of some live-streams here.
Or you could try live-streaming a service from home.
Live-streamed worship has limitations if it is a one-way 'broadcast'. There are ways in which you can make it more of a 'gathered community' experience.
- Could you invite people to engage via Facebook comments?
- Could people not on Facebook email or phone in their prayers before live streaming a service?
- Start the stream early so people can join and chat like they might before a service
- Use polls to ask questions throughout
- Do a shorter sermon, but have space for questions and comments afterwards
- Send out notes or a written sermon beforehand and have the livestream be a conversation around those topics
Get together online and arrange to try:
- Live stream a morning prayer on Facebook.
- Live stream a pastoral 'chat'
- Schedule a prepared conversation on a theme, or a Bible study.
- Why not invite people from outside the church community? You could post in local community Facebook groups inviting everybody to 'join us for prayers at 6pm' for instance
- Try holding meetings using a platform like Zoom www.zoom.us. Here's a guide to setting up Zoom from the URC. Make sure you are safe - see Using Zoom Safely
Including those who aren't online
- We produce weekly service sheets for printing out and posting
- Another thing you could try (if a bit technically-minded) is creating a special dial-in phone number so people can listen to a weekly sermon over their landline, for instance. See guidance on how to set this up.
What has worked for your church? Share your stories - email firstname.lastname@example.org