How to "In-Person" Again

A rideshare company is using ads to encourage people to use their services again now that our country is slowly easing COVID-19 restrictions. Various funny scenarios show people relearning how to do “human” things like saying hello to a stranger, going on a first date, and being on time for early morning meetings in the office. Of course, one scenario that’s dear to our hearts is missing—relearning how to physically attend church again.

Here are a few suggestions that can help make this transition much easier:

Provide options for worship

Not everyone is comfortable or ready to come out of ‘hiding’ just yet. Even if your church doors opened this week with no restrictions on numbers, some people will still choose to stay home for now. By providing a recording of your live worship service online, you will continue to minister to the whole spectrum of preferences. If the congregation is comfortable, be sure to include footage of attendees worshiping in person. This will encourage those at home to not miss out and decide to join you live in the near future.

Don’t stop keeping track of attendees

Contact tracing has been a vital part of our toolset to control community outbreaks. It's important to continue this practice in light of the potential for more waves this coming winter. If you are still using the tedious method of emails or pen and paper, considering switching to a solution that is more automated and powerful. Sunergo’s Return to Service tool handles registration and check-ins for weekly recurring events, such as services or classes.

Reach out to your local community

Your church is probably planning some outdoor summer picnics and barbecues. Instead of making it a potluck, consider having everyone contribute a certain dollar amount to be collected and used to buy food from local restaurants that have been struggling. This would be a great opportunity to let the owners know about your church reopening and to invite them to your first in-person service. If they are comfortable, they might even permit you to put up a little poster to advertise your church service times. It's also a great way to train the congregation to bless the wider community beyond the four walls of your church.

Plan an act of celebration

When Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land, God instructed him to erect 12 stones at Gilgal. Why? In reply, Joshua told the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God” (Joshua 4:21-24).

God has graciously watched over us and helped us cross to the other side of this pandemic. Consider building a display to celebrate and remember the powerful hand of God in our lives. This could simply be a bulletin board where members can display pictures of things they are now able to do in person or words of gratitude.

It is hard to believe that things are finally looking hopeful for our church gatherings. We wish you all a joyful return to service!

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and reflects the opinion of the author. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on as professional advice. You should consult appropriate professionals for your specific situation.

Categories: Planning, Summer