COVID-19 Church Online Summit + Resources (March 18, 2020)
District Executive Minister, Converge PacWest
Culture & society
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea...
Where can people go for confidence and peace in times of uncertainty? Well, for Christians, the answer is God himself. Psalm 46 is a famous hymn that was sung by the Hebrew people on the Temple hill. Even though Jerusalem was a fortress, a military city surrounded by walls, the people knew that God had always been their strength. The Lord had rescued them many times before, so only the Lord could be trusted to deliver them in the future. Psalm 46 was the inspiration behind Martin Luther’s famous hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God.
The Coronavirus crisis is an ever-changing reality right now. It feels a little like “the earth giving way and the mountains falling into the sea.” At times like this, it is important as spiritual leaders to demonstrate confidence in God and respond appropriately to the immediate circumstances. Even Martin Luther showed this kind of leadership during an outbreak of the Plague in Germany. He famously instructed people to trust in God, stay healthy themselves, help their neighbors, and refrain from spreading the disease however possible.
New Coronavirus Guidelines
In a press conference on Monday, the White House released new Coronavirus Guidelines for America in the next 15 days. These are simple, clear instructions for all Americans to follow in order to reduce the spread of the pandemic and save lives. Within these rules, people should avoid all gatherings of more than 10 people. It’s important to do our part by following these guidelines, and we need to be creative about doing church in the next several weeks. Ministry hasn’t stopped. We just need to adapt and do things differently.
Be creative! You can do it!
Every week, you are making decisions about how to best serve your congregation. I’ve heard lots of creative ideas in the last few days. This is a time to be innovative. One way we can serve one another is by sharing ideas and resources to get us through this uncertain season. Seek out the creative people in your church and listen to them. They may just think of that one good idea you need. Below are other ideas from Converge churches in recent days that may help you.
Broadcast your worship service online. Facebook makes it easy, even if you’ve never done it before. Read thisarticleto learn how.
Have someone be the Live Host during the service. He or she is like an usher. The host can welcome people as they join the service through instant messages and comments.
Be interactive. Ask questions during the service and read comments that people post online or through text messages.
Facebook has a feature where people can host a Watch Party. Essentially, they are inviting other friends on Facebook to watch the service with them in an online group. This is great for small group leaders and extraverts in your church. If done effectively, watch parties could double or triple the size of your viewing audience.
Are you skeptical of live broadcasting? You can video a worship service on Saturday and put it on your website for people to watch on-demand. Or, you can set up designated times to encourage people to watch it simultaneously.
Share the gospel. Some pastors grumbled about having to do an online worship service for the first time. That was until several people placed their faith in Jesus on Sunday. Praise God!
Email instructions to parents to have family devotions at home.
Post weekly Sunday school lessons on your kids’ ministry webpage for families to download.
One Converge children’s ministry director filled several paper bags with supplies for a family craft and devotional. She put them on the front porch of the church for parents to stop by and pick up. What a great idea! No internet required!
Write down a brief message about giving that feels appropriate to you in this season and share it with your congregation. You need to strongly encourage your congregation to give.
Take advantage of online donation options, giving by text, etc.
Write a letter to families that give primarily by check and enclose a return envelope.
Consider areas in your budget where you can save money in the next few months, and remember to take care of your staff, missionaries, and ministries that your church supports.
We are here to help!
Converge has created a website in order to help your church respond and lead through the Coronavirus pandemic. We are updating our social media accounts on a regular basis and will continue to send out updates as needed. Please share your ideas and God-stories with us. Converge churches like yours are our best resource for one another. We’ll share your idea on the Converge PacWest Facebook page and future updates.
On mission together, Better together,
I approve this message! :)
David Yetter, District Executive Minister, Converge PacWest
David has served as district executive minister of Converge PacWest since 2009. He is a graduate of Biola University and Dallas Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a doctorate at Talbot School of Theology. David has served Christ’s church and Converge churches for over 35 years in rural, urban and suburban settings, in churches sized 25 to 4500, and in church plants and established churches.