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Essential Guide to Reopening Your Church Post-COVID-19

Nine Essentials for Post COVID-19 Church Ministry

Now is perhaps the most opportune time to engage the people of your church in planting seeds for the Gospel right in their neighborhoods.  For the most part, people are at home. Many have real needs during this crisis, whether physical or emotional. Do not neglect this opportunity to both disciple your people and reach your town with the love of Jesus.  The compassionate care of Jesus can be demonstrated, even from a distance with safety in mind. The Church has always stepped up during times of crisis and this is an opportunity for your church to be the hands and feet of Jesus right in your community.

  • How is your church serving the needs of your city?  
  • How are you equipping your people to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their neighborhoods?

Before the time comes when you are permitted for reopening your church, be sure you and your people have proactively sown the seeds in your town. Good neighbors doing good deeds leads to goodwill which opens the door for the Good News. Across the nation we are seeing a sense of “we are in this together” and your church can lean in and demonstrate that you are there for your city.

Here are some great ways to plant those seeds now:

  • Launch a simple Neighbors Helping Neighbors movement in your town. To really sow seeds and increase the engagement of your people provide some ideas and tools to help them serve their neighbors. The key is to offer ideas that can be implemented from a safe distance, if necessary. A great resource for your church is Neighbors Helping Neighbors. There you will find a free training video to get you started in a simple yet very effective way. You can also download a free sermon starter that focuses on the Great Commandment and a free engaging exercise that every household in your church can use to reach their neighbors called the Dozen Door Challenge.
  • Create care packages for healthcare and other essential workers in your community. There are several groups of frontline workers that your church can encourage and bless. Whether baking and delivering cookies and muffins to the workers at your local hospital or having your children’s ministry create cards for local police and fire stations, think through ways to bless those who are working to keep your city safe.
  • Send a note with a local gift card to the closest homes to your church. A simple way to connect with the homes in the immediate neighborhood around your church is to send a handwritten card. You can look up the closest 50 or 100 homes online, write a note letting them know you are here for them if they need anything, drop in a $5 gift card to a local bagel or ice cream shop, and send them in the mail. Alternatively, provide a handful of $5 gift cards to each household in your church and ask them to write notes and deliver them to their neighbors.
  • Support and say thank you to your frontline workers in your community. Another way your church can encourage local heroes in your community is by putting signs of support in your yards, front porches or places of business. The America Together Movement has a variety of affordable signs and banners that can be easily ordered and displayed to demonstrate support and say thank you to all of those who are serving. AmericaTogetherMovement.com


#2 Communicate Your Open Status & Safety Priorities

There are two primary things you will need to communicate as you prepare for reopening your church: open status details and safety priorities. The first is obvious, you will want to let people know when your doors reopen. This is a huge opportunity to invite all of those with whom your people have been connecting and serving. Hopefully many new people have been introduced to the heart of your church as you have been serving your community, celebrating local workers, and being good neighbors. Now is the time to let them experience your church family, and it is best to act quickly to water the seeds that have been planted. You can help people take their next steps on their journey by inviting them to experience biblical community and corporate worship at your church.

The second, and less obvious, item you will need to communicate are the measures your church is taking to keep people safe. It is becoming increasingly important for individuals to understand how you are protecting them and their families. This is especially important for new people your church has been reaching during this crisis. People will want to know your safety measures before they will consider visiting. When you are able to demonstrate that you care about everyone’s safety, from young to old, and have put responsible protocols in place, your church will build trust in your community.  (For further details on creating a safe environment, see #4 below.)

Once you have refined your messaging and know what you will be communicating, you will need to determine the best avenues to get the word out. Here are four proven ways to connect with your community:

    • Facebook Ads You can target specific geographic areas and connect people directly to your church website very affordably. This can be especially effective if your church has been posting engaging content and live-streaming on Facebook. Setting up and refining Facebook ads for maximum return on investment can be somewhat tricky, so you might want to connect with a service that helps churches specifically run Facebook ad campaigns, like the one offered by Outreach.
    • Direct Mail To ensure you reach every home in your area, nothing can beat direct mail postcards. Your church can qualify for non-profit postage and mail for pennies per home. This is a safe way to get your message out and invite your neighbors to church.
    • Social Media Be sure to post regularly on your social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram. You can even do Facebook Live or IGTV videos to share about reopening your church details and your safety precautions. This is a great way to demonstrate what your church is doing to prepare to safely welcome your community.
    • Banners and Signage Let those who drive by your church know when you are reopening. If you have a digital sign or marquee, be sure to include your reopening details. If not, you can purchase outdoor banners and flags to help communicate that you are reopening your church.
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Jason serves as the Chief Strategy Officer at PastorServe, a ministry committed to strengthening the Church by serving pastors through personal coaching and church consulting. He also hosts FrontStage BackStage, a podcast and YouTube show, that helps pastors embrace healthy, well-balanced leadership as they develop a sustainable rhythm for life and ministry. Prior to joining the PastorServe team, Jason served as Vice President of Ministry Mobilization at Outreach, Inc., and as the Executive Director of the National Back to Church Sunday movement. Additionally, Jason served for nearly two decades in pastoral leadership, primarily as a lead pastor, in several contexts, including church plant re-launch, multisite church, multiethnic urban church, and an established suburban church. His experience as a lead pastor has provided numerous opportunities to coach and mentor pastors across the country. Jason and his beautiful wife, Monica, are the proud parents of six children and live on Anastasia Island, Florida. @jasondaye