Create a communication plan and make sure your communication systems are ready. The way you communicate to your congregation is really important. The tone of your communication is important. You want your congregation to be aware you are taking these measures out of an abundance of caution and that there is no reason to be fearful. If it is necessary to adjust your meetings or suspend them, communicate that you are doing these things out of common sense and a desire to mitigate any risk the virus may present.
Now is the time to beef up any communication channels that may be weak. Do you have your congregants’ email addresses and phone numbers? A simple sign-up sheet or connection card on Sunday mornings can remedy this problem if you don’t have them already.
Follow these steps:
• Gather necessary contact information now, including phone numbers (cell and home), email addresses, and physical addresses.
• Gather family census information: family members’ names/ages, workplaces, and schools.
• Create communication plans for use with your church community.
• Include strategies for sharing information with staff and your church community.
• Include information about steps being taken by your church to prepare for the coronavirus and how additional information will be shared. Click here to see a Facebook announcement made by Kalos Church in Bellevue, Washington.
• Send out a weekly email newsletter with updates about church life, prayer requests, and health updates. Constant Contact is a great tool for sending mass emails to your people.
TAKE MORE OF YOUR MINISTRY AND COMMUNICATION ONLINE.
If your church is unable to hold public services or even if some of your church members decide to not attend services, it will be important for your church to be able to do ministry online. This can include your website, social media, and mobile apps.
1. Create or Improve Your Church Website.
It’s a dated analogy but not having a church website in this day and age (and even more in the midst of a crisis) is like not being listed in the Yellow Pages. You must have an online presence if you expect people to find your church. Get started with these steps:
• Audit your site to see if it’s current. Your website must be up to date with current information. Double check your phone number, emails, physical address, and any other contact info.
• Add a “Here to Help” section. In times of need, people will look to the church more for help and hope. Provide a hopeful and Bible-based message here with a listing of available resources for help.
• Add a “We Meet Here” section. If your church is no longer meeting in physical space, ensure that everyone can find you by listing links and online service times here.
If you lack the resources to start or improve your church website, we are here to help. We want you focused on building your community, not your website. Let Outreach help you build a site you love. With some guidance from you, we can start fresh OR use content from your old website to build your new one that will include free live streaming. There is no upfront cost and only $40 per month for hosting and service.
2. Increase your church’s Facebook presence.
Facebook is built around a community focus. If your church is unable to meet, your church’s Facebook pages may be a primary way for your church members to communicate, care for one another, and reach out to one another.
Start a Facebook page or Facebook private group. If you don’t have a Facebook page, then start one now. After having a public Facebook page for your church, consider creating private Facebook groups for specific ministries, such as youth ministry, children’s ministry, and even specific Sunday school classes and small groups for people to stay in touch and informed.
Ask members to follow and like your Facebook page. For most churches, only a small percentage of their attenders follow the church’s Facebook page. In a Sunday service during announcements and via email, ask church members to go to your Facebook page to follow and like your page. This will ensure that when posts happen on your page that your church members will have a better chance of seeing the posts in their Facebook news feeds.
Increase your Facebook posts. If your church is not able to meet or if attendance decreases, then increasing your posts, updates, ministry requests and videos on Facebook will be crucial. Every post provides an opportunity for your church members to share those posts with their friends and expand your ministry reach during a time when people will be open to the Gospel.
Most churches do not have the design resources or social media person to focus on this so Outreach Social has over 1,900 posts ready to go including many for coronavirus concerns. Outreach Social also features daily automated posting to Facebook and Twitter with custom church logo branding on every post. To help more churches expand their social media communication in response to the coronavirus concerns, new signups get 50% off their first year. Use code: SelEHxce
Keep reading about ways to boost your communication.