Churches across the world have just finished their first ‘Virtual Easter Sunday’ in their history. What takeaways should churches be thinking about during COVID–19 and not being able to meet together at a church family? Is there anything from this time churches should implement in the future when we can gather together?
Virtual Church isn’t Church with a Camera
One commonly held conception before COVID–19 was that streaming the service was just about putting the entire worship service online so people could watch from home. One thing that we’ve learned during this time is that ‘virtual church’ is different than streaming the service, and it should be treated as such. While we believe the church should gather as often as possible, there is nowhere in scripture that it says it has to be done weekly. What if a church has to forgo gathering for a month during construction? What if the smaller church is without a real home for a few months? During these periods, they will need to design ways to encourage their body virtually. As you think through what your online streaming looks like in the future, keep in mind that there may be times when someone has to be away from the physical for an extended period (illness, business travel, etc.). How should your services acknowledge that?
Digital Strategy is Important
Outside of the worship services, churches have also had to rethink what staff meetings, life groups, hospital visits, etc. all look like in a world where we can’t always be together. Even after we return to normal, churches will need to have serious consideration of a digital strategy for internal operations as well as external communication. It should expand our mindset from just focusing on getting people in the doors to ministering to people’s needs all during the week. We should come out of this period with a renewed focus on the worship gathering, but also realizing that there is way more than a church to do that put on weekend events.
Focus on ROI
Many churches are already canceling all of their summer activities, so it begs the question: what can you not
do in the future? We’re not saying you don’t need to plan a Vacation Bible School in the summer of 2021, but you should be looking at all
of your events with a fresh set of eyes in terms of the return value. If you are forced to cancel all of your activities for a period, you’ll get a picture of which ones are accomplishing their goals. Churches should be saying no to a lot of things so that they can say yes to a few things that work (and execute them well).
What strategies are you looking to implement in the future based on a period of ‘virtual services’?
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters