By Todd Adkins
Now that we’ve found ourselves in a significant crisis, there are three big questions to consider:
- How do we do ministry during the crisis?
- What does it look like right after the crisis?
- Does it establish a new normal?
Unlike a business, we don’t have to wonder what our “why” is; it’s the gospel.
But as we look ahead, assess our contexts with state and local government-sanctioned re-entry processes in mind, and make plans to reopen our churches, it’s important to understand what our “who” is—the people who have been involved in our churches and those who may be new, in the virtual sense.
Here are four things each church should consider as they think about the people they’ll be serving—both those who’ve been around for a while and newcomers.
1. Who are we trying to serve?
Think about the kinds of people you’re serving. What specific groups within the church?
For example, if one of the groups you see yourself serving are parents, they may be coming out of a quarantine where they’ve had extra time with their kids and want to ride that wave—to be more intentional in their parenting, whether that means more quality time with them under “normal” circumstances, or more focused discipleship.
In the scenarios where you’re thinking about a parent, consider what this looks like, practically. Generally, they’re going to be at home. But think more specifically: at the kitchen table during meal time, outside shooting hoops, or reading to them or telling stories at bedtime.
With this in mind, let’s move to the next consideration.
2. What are their greatest needs?
For our purposes, let’s keep our focus on the example of the parent group for the rest of this article.
Most parents’ greatest needs are generally going to be the same. But how you address them needs realignment with what the pandemic has changed.
So it may be helping them talking to their child about COVID-19. Perhaps your church could provide a resource to help them be intentional in leading their child to grow closer to God.
Or maybe it’s something more practical—a resource to keep the kids occupied so the parents can perform tasks that get neglected simply because their hands are full with the children most of the time.
3. What abilities does your church need to meet one of these specific needs?
How would your church create or procure a resource that would allow parents to be intentional in leading their child to grow closer to God?
This is an important opportunity—for both the church leaders and the parents. Take advantage of the opportunity that due to the quarantine, many more families are sharing meals together daily instead of all the hustle and bustle of everyday activities.
In this scenario, the church can develop conversation starters to be used whenever the family is involved in one of the scenes I described above—gathering around the kitchen table, playing in the yard, or winding down at bedtime.
What are some prompts you can develop for parents when they have the captive audience of their children in any of these everyday life scenarios? What are some conversation topics that seem natural—topics of eternal and spiritual significance?
4. How are we going to deliver the resources/content?
Are you going to do this digitally? If so, by what means?
Do you plan to post it to a Facebook group, sending it out via email? Or by some other means? At what frequency?
Should you go the analog route and print off on a nice quality paper and mail them? Or do you get fancy and make a deck of conversation cards with your church’s logo?
A tool to help you turn considerations into reality
Hopefully, the examination questions are helpful and bring clarity to how you might realign your ministries for different groups within your congregation best during this time.
Ministry Grid has created a free course to help churches move toward a new normal in response to COVID-19, including this ministry realignment framework.
This course includes 9 videos and 15 documents to establish clarity in the midst of chaos, think through who you’re serving, create financial and ministry contingency plans, shift focus and resource the right things, and emerge from this season stronger than before.
We recommend you walk through this course with your church staff or ministry team to create a contextualized response and reopening plan for your church.
The reality of COVID-19 may not seem beautiful at the moment, but we have a unique opportunity to see our churches thrive today and in the days to come.