We're facing a lot of unknowns, and there may be a lot of questions. How can you respond to your congregation and help them through this sense of loss?
Hey church leaders, my name's Darrell Roland with Chemistry Staffing. I wanted to take a few moments just to encourage you during this time and also to walk alongside you with some of the challenges you may be having right now during this time of quarantine or not being able to have services live. First, I just want to let you know that our team as Chemistry Staffing are praying for you every day as a staff at one o'clock. We're going to continue to do that through this crisis. Know that we're available to answer any questions and walk alongside you with any challenges you may have or questions you might like to have answered. We have a team of a lot of great church leaders that would be willing to help you. Simply go to our website, pick one, reach out. You can reach me if you have questions about this at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We all know we're facing a lot of unknowns at levels we've never been at before. I know you may have a lot of questions of what do we do when this happens. Well, this has happened. So I want to just give you some things that we're walking through as a church and I know many others are as well and how we're addressing some of those things. I feel like there's going to be several areas that our people are going to feel a sense of loss. And what we're trying to do is answer the question of how do we mitigate that sense of loss. I think we need to answer the question of if we can never meet again, how will we do church. And that will help you with creative ideas to be able to get around a table and say how do we do this. When I say "table," it is a virtual table right now.
One of the things that I know that people are feeling a sense of loss of is that loss of gathering and filling, the time that takes place in corporate worship when we come together, we worship our father, we spend time listening to a great message, and we encourage each other. That's going to be a sense of loss that people have to navigate. And probably the biggest way that we're going to be able to address that is through online services and online experiences. Some of you have platforms to do that. Some do not. If you do not, church online is a great resource. You can set up an account and use that. It's very reliable, typically have zero issues. You can also use Facebook Live. I know they had a capacity issue this last Sunday. They are working on that. Another option is to pre-record your services and put them on your website and direct people and say, "These are our service times." I would try to keep my service times the same because that's the rhythm of life that people have that attend your church. So you could add some if you need be, but I would try not to eliminate those so you keep those rhythms.
I would encourage, if at all possible, you have live hosting. If you have church online, it's easy to do. You'll record that, do a live hosting, and then you can move into the worship and into the message. I would try to make it as fluid as possible, so if you're recording, maybe you record the host, the worship, and your pastor speaking all in that one fluid piece so it doesn't feel broken up. We're looking at, as our church, we're pre- recording a lot of worship sets and things of that nature, should there be issues or concerns along the way. So live hosting. Prayer rooms, chat opportunities on there just so people can engage and start putting comments in the side chatrooms. "That was a great song" or "that's really speaking to me during this season," so they can pop a scripture in. Have your pastoral team, if you're multi-site, have your campus pastors set up on there as administrators so they see their campus pastor's name and resonate with everybody in that group. Make it a "we are one" if you are a multi-site.
Another loss that they're going to feel is that sense of community and connection. I think the biggest piece of that is going to be through our groups that they typically have been meeting in, whether it be serve teams, small groups, whatever it may be. I think you've got to determine how you're going to set that up. Are you going to have online groups? Are you going to have Google Hangout groups? Are you going to have Zoom call groups? Or however it is that you plan to address that. That is a piece that I feel is really important for us to be able to fill that void at this time because they're going to feel that loss of community and connection. Also in this, I believe you've got to really ramp up your communication. You can determine what method, whether that's email, whether it's Facebook, whether it's Facebook groups. If you have multiple sites, maybe set up a Facebook group for each site so there can be communication going on in there as well. Your campus pastors can monitor that. Email out an update. I would recommend maybe even videoing a 15-minute message or something during the week to connect with people maybe over a scripture, it may be over the current state of our community and all with the COVID-19 virus, just something to keep people encouraged and keep them informed. And that will also keep you connected.
Social media. Use Facebook, like I said, groups, use your page. Have your pastors engaging and updating those pieces. Prayer environments. Facebook Live, text-to-pray. You can create an account and text out a prayer every day that's individualized based on where we are. So I would encourage you to look at those options. Don't forget about the kids and students. How are you going to keep them active in the community? Create some curriculum, some downloadables, some videos that can be on your website as well so that kids can have kids' church. Or if you’re doing it as a family church, that's fine too to have your family environments. Determine how you're going to move forward with this, but engage as much as possible face to face, not just through an email because people are not going to be reading all of their emails during this season.
Another piece that I think people will feel a loss is that loss of leadership. I think in this time there's got to be regular communication, as I said earlier. Maybe there's a round table discussion by some of your staff about what you're doing to prevent COVID-19 spread in your church, what is the state of your community, prayer time as a pastoral staff that you send out. Make it engaging, send something out so they see your lead pastor and your pastors are leading through this crisis. I think engage your elders and key leaders. Give them an opportunity to go to a higher level at leading. They probably have already been doing that at your church. I think this is a chance to where you can take it not only to the next level but all of the sudden the people of the church become the church. And I know that's what our goal is for all of us out here is to engage more people and caring for people. I think you give away some leadership. Let your creatives be creative. Ask them to create some of these environments. Ask them to create how we engage. Get them in a room virtually and let them talk, and come up with some ideas on how to do this.
I think some of you are going to be facing giving concerns. I would say push online. Create a card, mail it out, maybe do old-school, mail out some envelopes, put that card in how to enroll in online giving. If you're doing online services, put it on your website, everywhere you can to put that there. But do it with a story. Tell them what their giving does. By you giving, we're able to do this. So I would encourage you to make giving about vision during this time especially. You don't want to make it front and center, but you want to make everyone aware that because of their giving, you're able to help people during this crisis. I would say that this is a time when people want to give. They may want to be a part of how they help their community. Share that with them how. If you have a special fund for that, do it. But if not, say because of your giving to our operating budget, we're going to give away more toward our community.
Another piece is looking at meeting real needs. There are tremendous amount of kids at risk with food in our area, and I'm sure there are in yours too. So we are partnering with schools to go to the next level, not just the backpacks, but how do we feed these kids and these families that are not getting the support in the schools that they were before. There's many opportunities in your community. I would suggest you reaching out to your partners, your schools, your community groups, and all there. And say how can you be a part of it. Identify those areas for you.
Lastly, I think there's probably a lot of questions, what do you do about staff? About their hours. Do you pay them, do you not. I would strongly encourage, if at all possible, to do pay your part-time people who would not get paid as a salaried employee. This is something that I think the church needs to lead the way and take care of people, and that message will get out. You may be asking, what do we do with the weekend workers that don't necessarily have weekday responsibilities. Redeploy them. Send them to the areas where there's going to be a bigger need, whether it be online services, online groups. Simply calling people and checking on people, having teams that will make phone calls to the elderly, at-risk people, let them know you're caring for them, praying for them. You could redeploy them to being creative as a part of that team. You could redeploy them to set up Google groups and start caring for people, just doing a weekly check in with their teams. Most of you have coaches in your small groups and some of your serve teams, so I would say this is a time to take that to a higher level as well. Use those people, just use them in a different way. This is a time when people want to be a part of the solutions. I just want to encourage you to reach out to your people, engage them, and let them be a part of the solution. Again, if we can serve you in any way, feel free to reach out to us through our website or email me directly if you'd like at email@example.com. I want to close with a prayer for us.
Father God, during this season we don't have all the answers. We don't pretend to, although to we pretend to in other times. But this is a time when we truly are calling upon you to be our God, to really be a God that shows up in a mighty way in our churches across America. That you can help us to engage people in the way that you want us to engage, that we will create new opportunities that share your gospel and have your word go out, that people will know us by our love and our care through this time. Lord, that all these leaders and these pastors would be encouraged during this season, that they would hear your voice, that they would clearly be able to discern and determine what methods of communication and contact they need to implement. And Lord again, we just come to you and we just submit all this to you because you are God, you are sovereign, you're still on the throne, and we trust you. in Jesus' name. Thanks, guys. If we can help in any way, let us know.