Online Worship: How A Community Church in Rochester is Coping With The Current Pandemic
May 07, 2020 20:13
At a time when all hands are needed on deck to reduce and stop the spread of the coronavirus, churches have had to stop physical congregations.
The current pandemic that is plaguing the world has led the government to issue a stay at home order and a ban on large gatherings, including church services and meetings. The lockdown order and ban on physical gatherings have unprecedented implications on the church and its usual mass gatherings.
Indeed, these are trying times for any church. But as a community church in Rochester shows, there are many ways for churches to manage these challenges better. Here we go through some of the ways your church can cope with the outbreak of the pandemic, and continue to spread the word of God:
7 Ways Churches Can Cope During the Coronavirus Pandemic
1.Streaming Services Online
Most Christian rites, worship, and celebrations are traditionally held in physical, communal gatherings. However, the need to practice social distancing and avoid large crowds have made different churches look inward for other ways to hold their services and keep the faith going.
Thankfully, the technological advancements in ICT and digital technology have made this process a bit easier. Churches have taken advantage of social media platforms such as Facebook, to conduct services online, and allow the congregation to join in and participate in the worship from the comforts of their homes.
2.Leveraging on the Internet
Aside from live-streaming, the internet has other advantages that the church can leverage on during these trying times. It can be used to host online sermons, upload bible studies, and record worship songs, among other things.
It can also be utilized to provide links to worship songs and virtual group prayers meetings through social media apps like WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype, Google hangouts, Instagram live, etc.
The best way to do this is to have a website where the links can be uploaded, and can easily be accessed by members. It can be the church website or a specially created website dedicated to managing church responses during the pandemic. To see how a community church in Rochester handled this, visit browncroft.org.
3.Encourage Online Giving
Despite the ongoing pandemic, the church still needs finances to run during this period. With the decline in physical gatherings and ban on church services, a lot of churches may experience financial troubles without online giving. But since churches are encouraged to stop physical donations, they need to find ways to introduce online donations to prevent further spread and transmission of the virus.
Luckily, there are several platforms that make it possible for churches to implement online giving, such as Easy Tithe, Tithe.ly, Push pay, Kindred, to mention a few. Being able to text to give church has become increasingly popular these days, given our current worldwide situation.
4.Create A Welfare Team
The pandemic has brought to light the reality of human fragility more than ever. So it is no surprise that a lot of people are experiencing anxiety, depression, and panic as a result of social isolation. During this time, Christians need the church to guide them and help them navigate the fear, depression, anxiety, and any other storms that might come.
Besides feeding the sheep on the word of God, there is a need to maintain constant fellowship and to check on the mental and physical well-being of your flock. Church leaders will need to devise a way to check on members of the church periodically, and develop a working strategy to help those who are going through anxiety, panic, and depression.
5.Share Reliable Information
Another way the church can help its congregation cope during the pandemic is to gather and share reliable information from credible sources. Misinformation is everywhere, so to help keep your flock updated, the media team of the church can share reliable information and useful safety and emergency tips on the church website.
Thankfully, the media team can carry out this responsibility without needing to leave their homes. Some of the sites that provide reliable information include the World Health Organization (WHO), the state health department, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
6.Develop a Working Response Strategy
To successfully survive this pandemic, churches need to develop a working strategy in response to the challenges posed by the coronavirus. Browncroft Community Church, as part of its response strategy, has provided sermons, worship songs, and other resources to help its members through this pandemic.The church also has in place other resources to keep students, kids, and families occupied at home, which can help them adhere to the stay at home order and practice social isolation.
7.Keep the Ministry Active
Churches have to be aware now more than ever what a church means. It is essential to teach your congregation that the church is the body of Christ and has nothing to do with the physical building. Doing this can help members keep the faith, worship in fellowship, and keep hope.
The pandemic is also the time for the church to step up in active ministry by helping the sick and needy. Christians and the church have always taken an active role in times of natural disasters, pandemics, and wars, and this period is no different. Although churches are advised to render help, it is important to keep their safety in mind, and to refrain from any activities that might endanger public health.
Some of the things the church can do to help include giving out relief packages, providing hand sanitizers and face masks.The church can also offer words of encouragement, organize virtual group prayer meetings, help the elderly and other vulnerable individuals pick groceries and other essential needs,
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic over the church, the body of Christ can continue thriving even in these trying times. By following the tips above, community churches can cope and help their members manage the challenges that come with the outbreak of the virus.
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