Churches all over the world are strategizing about relaunching their services. In this session of Chemistry Conversations, Matt Steen, Co-Founder of Chemistry Staffing, discusses relaunch strategies with Darrell Roland, Executive Pastor of Rockbridge Community Church in Dalton, Georgia, and a Church Coach at Chemistry Staffing.
Chemistry Staffing COVID-19 Resources
COVID-19 is causing all of us to have discussions that we never thought we'd be having. We're here to help you and your church during this time. Even if it's just to have a sympathetic ear to talk candidly and off the record about what might be next. Click here to find out more.
We'd love to hear thoughts about YOUR church's re-launch strategies and ideas (just email us at email@example.com). As always, we are here for you, and we're praying for churches and teams all over the United States!
Read the Full Transcript
Darrell: Yes, six.
Matt: And Darrell is also one of Chemistry's church coaches. So Darrell, thanks for being here today man.
Darrell: It's great. Hopefully I can answer these questions properly and give some insights for us all.
Matt: I don't think that will be an issue. We've been talking a good bit lately just about reentry. So we're two months into the COVID19 crisis. Churches have been shut down. Some places are starting to talk about reentry and reopening, and states are opening up. Darrell, Georgia, apparently you can get tattoos and massages and go to the barber shop and all of that kind of stuff these days. So tell us a little bit about how you guys at Rock Bridge, a decent-sized church, how are you approaching reentry? What are you thinking about, and what are some of the ways that you guys are thinking through this that some other churches can learn from?
Darrell: Yeah. Well first I'm not going to show you evidence of where I have gone over these past few weeks since the state has opened up. So I'm going to leave it at that. And I'm really surprised it's been two months. It sure seemed like two years that we've been walking through this. You know, for us, we have started having the discussion over these past couple of weeks. And what we are trying to do is watch and see, in a sense, on some of this opening. Watching retail outlets that now are beginning to open in Tennessee this weekend. Looking at restaurants that have already started opening this week. And we are not talking about opening until at least June or later. So we want to have some time to kind of continue to watch what our medical experts are saying in the community before we make any hard decisions. Now that said, we still have to be preparing. So we have pulled together what we call at Rock Bridge a strategic huddle. And that's some key leaders in different areas of our ministry who just get in a room, virtual room of course right now, and just talk through how this will impact each one of our ministries. So I'll have someone who's a strategic thinker who's our strategic initiatives director. I'll have our children's multi-campus director. I'll have our host team multi-campus director. People like that in the room to start talking about every aspect of this so it will be holistic. And pastors will talk about how it impacts. So that is one of the first steps that we are doing. We put a tentative timeline, but we've been very clear that this is just somewhere we're pointing almost in the dark to try to say this is where we want to go.
Matt: So you said something really interesting about watching what the outlets are doing, watching what restaurants are doing. What are you guys looking for with those institutions that will help you decide what you do?
Darrell: Well one, we're interacting with a lot of our business owners in the community to see what they're seeing in their restaurants and in their outlets. But also even some of the restaurants that are in our community have some outdoor seating, so it gives us a chance to walk around and see if people are really social distancing, their behaviors. Are they going to be able to reintegrate into big groups and keep their distance? Now we both know, if there's anybody that can't do that, it's Christians.
Matt: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Darrell: They're going to be hugging. There will be hand shaking, all these things. And we don't want to be in a situation where we see that and we become the social distancing police. So we want to be sure to create environments to where that becomes natural. And that will include a lot of pre-work, a lot of pre-education of people as well.
Matt: So talk to me a little bit about that pre-education. I mean, what does that look like? I know you guys are still figuring this out.
Darrell: Yeah, what does that look like? We are doing things like starting to develop just short presentations that we can give to key leaders. Our host teams, which is our greeters, ushers, new here teams, things like that, creating new trainings for them so that they have training. We'll use ministry platform and put it on there, and then they will go and watch those and be trained, and they'll be ready. So those are pieces of education. Signs up, posters up throughout the facility talking about what we would expect and what we ask them to do. You can point to the fact that you may see someone cleaning during the facilities, so they know it's happening, make them aware, but also so that there's not a concern. Because I think there's two sides to this. Some people will see that as a concern. Some will see it as a comfort level. So we want to speak to all of those through that time. In advance, just a short bytes of probably a video from our lead pastor saying, hey soon this is what we're going to be doing and how we're going to roll it out, and here's some of the things we want you to help us with. I believe if you really inspire them to help, you're going to get better buy-in than if you tell them what to do.
Matt: Yeah. So one last question if I may. You are in Georgia. Georgia is not fully up and running yet but a whole lot closer. Churches are able to meet if they so choose. How are you communicating to some of your crowd, hey this is why we're not meeting right now.
Darrell: Yeah we're doing it through various videos. And even our lead pastor at each online service may say a tidbit or something that kind of will point to it. We're doing it through social media. We're pushing that hard. We're sending out attender emails. We asked our campus pastors to create just short videos on their Facebook groups because each campus has a Facebook group they're communicating with. A piece that we feel is really important is looking at medical professionals in our area and talking to them, asking them to help us lead through this. Our local municipalities, our police department, our chamber of commerce. Getting their input and involving them in it at well because I think that's really important in the communication.
Matt: That's great, that's great. So I want to respect your time, don't want to keep you here all day because I'm sure you've got to, you know, I don't know, mow your grass again for the second time this week.
Darrell: I was just going to go down and have some nice Kool-Aid on the back.
Matt: One thing that churches should be thinking about right now. What would be the one thing that you would encourage churches to be wrestling through?
Darrell: I think you have to wrestle through when you reopen, how are you serving every generation of your attenders? You're going to have those that are going to rush back because the doors are open, and that's all they've known in their life. Most of those people will be an older generation who are more susceptible. One of the things we're talking about is to ask those folks to help us by watching online. We want to really continue to enhance and build up online. By doing that, a part of it will be, this has to be guilt-free worship. It's guilt-free church. And also there's got to be, Larry Osborne taught years ago about the multi-site movement that you want to have in these other - at that time were called "overflow rooms" - you want to have a reward for not seeing live. So we're going to be thinking about and want other churches to think about, what is the reward for that in some case? There's many churches that are saying they don't want to push them there, but I got to say I've enjoyed sitting with my family in my pajamas and worshipping and watching TV some. Even as a staff person there, there has been some elements of it that we need to capitalize on and really push. The other is thinking about parents. You know we can do children's ministry, think we have social distancing well, but that doesn't change that parent's comfort level. You can still do it, clean. Kids probably aren't going to follow it very well. They don't know how, they don't understand it, and that's okay. So you've got to think about that group of people too. The parents, the kids, the older generation. And then I think somehow being sure that this does not become a political problem and in essence polarize your congregation people are attending. This is something that we're in together. It is not about that. It's about the other person. And really, that's what the gospel is about anyway.
Matt: Funny how that works, huh. Well cool, Darrell thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and insight with our churches. Grateful for the work that you guys are going at Rock Bridge and grateful for the work that you're doing here at Chemistry. So thank you.
Darrell: Thanks Matt.