Families are being dramatically impacted by COVID-19. The kids are stuck at home, they’re processing a potential financial meltdown, and they don’t have church as an outlet. This is certainly an obstacle for church leaders, as most of us have built our programs on in-person gatherings. This obstacle is merely an opportunity though. We get to shepherd people through a history-book-worthy crisis. It will be challenging yet rewarding. Fortunately, we possess digital tools that allow us to communicate and deliver content like never before — we don’t have to be in the same room.
Here are 3 ways you can partner with families during a pandemic.
1. Provide inspiration, not just information.
Most of our minds immediately went to programming when we had to cancel. How do we meet? How do we do Bible study? Am I going to have to push back our mission trip? That’s the natural place for our minds to go. Now that the dust has settled, it’s time we take a more holistic view of this crisis. How can we serve our people? How can we reach more people? How can we shepherd and care for our confused and anxious city? Let’s push our focus past the program and onto people.
It’s important to send families clear updates on youth gathering cancellations, but it’s even more important to send families messages of hope and support. Take the time to ask families how they are doing, how you can be praying for them, and if your church can support them through these challenging times. A caring email or text to parents that focuses entirely on caring for them as church family will speak volumes to how much you genuinely care about their child.
2. Provide resources.
Students are home and bored. Parents are home and overwhelmed. Just like schools are sending parents educational activities for their children, your church should be providing spiritual growth resources to families. You can send them sermons from past series, book suggestions, Bible reading plans that speak truth into current circumstances, or devotionals that can be done as a family.
If you would like to send families devotionals and discussion guides that are age-appropriate for teenagers to work through, visit our free digital discipleship library. The CIRCLES discussion guides are organized by topic and include everything you need to run small group sessions as a family.
3. Provide hope.
As Life.Church says, “Church isn’t the building, it’s the people.” The Church may not be gathering in person, but God’s Church is never closed. Make sure your congregation knows you are here and available. Go out of your way to be present in a time of social distancing. Send regular emails they can count on for the entire duration of these closures.
We suggest making a new communications calendar that will hold you accountable for this new kind of pastoring. Schedule your calendar with messages of encouragement, serious help offerings based on what your church is ready to provide, prayer requests, resources, and personal check-ins. If you want help producing a content calendar, you can check out this resource.