Odds are your social media feed is consumed with concerns over the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The worldwide fear is causing concerns over meeting in public spaces, and ensuring that we are all using proper washing techniques in order to stop the spread of this harmful disease. Jeff and I recorded a podcast interviewing Ed Stetzer, where Ed talked about his church needing to shut down for a week or so because of a Swine Flu outbreak happening at the students’ yearly retreat. Although, the virus might not have hit your community yet, it is important that we all prepare in some way. Here are some ways that you can minister to your community and church using digital tools:
Spread hope, not opinions.
I want to make this clear, if you are not a medical expert, you may not want to speak into the validity of claims over this illness, or spread articles from blogs and news sites. People have died from complications caused by this virus. We should take it seriously, but at the same time, not spread fear. Your congregation does not need to hear your medical opinion, they need to understand how they should trust God and love their neighbor. You have an opportunity to encourage others to love during this time.
Communicate early and clearly to your church.
Your people are more plugged in than they have ever been to digital tools. Take this opportunity to let them know the game plan that you have regarding ministerial changes for your services. At my church, we have to deal with the threat of hurricanes, so we have a plan “in the can” should the threat of a hurricane warning stop us from having services. Developing a plan means sitting with your leadership at the table, and coming to a decision on youth events, mission trips, small groups, and services. Be as clear as possible before communicating to your congregation. You should come up with a plan first, and then communicate it clearly on your website, email blasts, and social media channels.
Pray for and with your people. Rather than criticize others for their concerns or spread jokes on social media, meet them with empathy through prayer. Many business owners and employees might be experiencing uncertainty about their jobs considering the shutdowns that are happening because of this disease. Parents have concerns for their children contracting the virus at their schools. You can begin engaging this fear head on through prayer, and teach your church that there is no problem too big or small to take to the Lord. You can leverage Facebook Live and YouTube Live to host prayer services. Have someone in the chat to take requests as you pray for your people out loud. Prayer is our opportunity to give our concerns to God.
I hope this article serves as an encouragement to you. God gave us digital tools, knowing full well that we would be able to steward them at this time. Let’s leverage them for the sake of mobilizing the Church and reaching our community for Christ.