Friendly visitors might take a book or share a card or message they’ve written. Homemade treats are almost always welcome. But there’s no requirement to go bearing gifts; the real gift is the visit itself. Consider creating a planner to schedule weekly visits where church members spend socially distanced time with others. You can also add a prayer time or a piece of Scripture for people to study together. For family visits, taking games to play with children is a thoughtful thing to do.
By engaging congregation members in sharing and visiting, both the giver and the receiver benefit. Every person will likely feel more connected and less alone at this time.
3. Connect more one-to-one.
When people feel disconnected, one of the strange things is that, for many, having just one person reach out and connect changes how they feel. You may know that having one person ask how you are and wanting to listen to you makes a difference if you feel isolated and alone.
Perhaps, like many leaders, you’ve at times taken for granted the value of your community, the congregation, or groups of people in it. Now is the moment to be the leader in your church community and reach out to individuals. Have a one-to-one chat about how you’re both feeling emotionally. Share struggles you have. Talk about how together you might work through those feelings.
“A problem shared is a problem halved” is the saying, so by connecting, you’re already solving half of the problem for that person. Keep a list of people who are interested in connecting one-to-one and who would appreciate someone connecting with them on a personal level at this time.
4. Find something to celebrate.
There’s always something to celebrate: a birthday, the birth of a child, someone graduating, a marriage, and more.
Take the time to create memorable “drive-by events” for these occasions. Ask, “Who has something to celebrate?” and then make an event to celebrate that with the person. It doesn’t have to be on the very day; the thought of having others recognize and take time to celebrate with them will help them feel connected.
Even having a small number of church members drive by, honk, and cheer puts a smile on a face that may have been sad due to feeling alone and disconnected from church. Joy can come from the smallest of acts, and any small amount of pleasure can change how lonely someone feels.
The memories of others sharing in these acts of joy linger and will help them feel connected to their fellow church members.
5. Use social media to connect.
Social media can be a positive platform to allow people to gather together and then get together. Don’t think of it as just posting photos or of being in an online, closed-off world. Think of social media as a way to stay connected with others so you can gather and be with them. Every moment of reaching out and being part of an online community via social media is worth it for the connection and the ways to reconnect with those who may be feeling disconnected.
Similar to other social platforms, io.church allows users to “make friends,” send messages, post content, reply, and like what others are posting. What separates io.church is that it’s designed for the church by fellow ministry leaders and its mission is to empower ministry leaders and church attendees to grow spiritually (even in a new spiritual climate).