Pastoral ministry in 2020’s pandemic is a constantly-changing landscape.
From in-person worship one week, to online-only the next week, to a blend of both, to whatever is coming next. Plus, the need to adapt quickly and dramatically isn’t likely to stop when we turn the calendar to 2021.
A lot of churches are adapting really well. But it also strikes me that so much of our adaptation relies on technology that was not in common usage as little as 20 years ago – even ten years for options like live-streaming.
It makes me wonder – how would our churches have adapted if this pandemic had happened just 20 years ago? What would we have done without ready access to internet-based technology? I’m convinced that whatever we would have done then, we should also be doing it now.
While using all the technology we can, it’s important to lean into low-tech ministry, too. Here are some examples:
The Phone Call
Before your phone was a computer, it was a phone. And it still is.
While I’m grateful for all the extras my phone can do, when it comes to ministry – especially small church ministry – there’s no better way to reach out when you can’t be there in person than the voice-to-voice phone call.
What if, when you were on that phone with your church members, you let them know you’d be happy to drop by their house for a face-to-face conversation? Masked and distanced, of course. For a lot of church members, especially our older folks, nothing will lift their spirits like an in-person greeting.
The Family Bible Study
If your church building is still closed, that doesn’t mean worship and Bible Study need to stop.
In addition to the online Bible Studies that many pastors are offering (including me) we can provide tools to help families read, study and discuss the Bible together.
The Store Run / Doctor Visit
Delivery apps are one of the great modern conveniences. And they’re really coming into their own now. Just a few taps of the phone and you can have virtually anything delivered to your door.
But delivery apps are not for everyone. For many church members, especially seniors, the technology is more confusing than helpful. And in many rural areas the apps don’t work at all.
Offering to shop and deliver food and other essentials is something we can do for our church members who need it. Or a drive to the doctor.
We can’t assume that people’s needs are being met by delivery apps. Even if they’re using them, no app can replace old-school helpfulness and friendship.
The Greeting Card
Ah yes, snail mail! There’s still something wonderful about getting a physical card or letter in the mail – especially from someone you haven’t seen in a while.
Unlike calls, texts and emails, people save cards. They display them and then refer to them with fondness.
The Multiple Service Option
If you can’t fit everyone into the room because of social-distancing needs, add more service times. No, it’s not ideal. It adds to the workload for staff and volunteers, and it means we can’t all gather together, but it does have some advantages.
First, it gets people out of their homes and back with other worshipers. Second, it does so more safely than everyone squeezing in for a single service. Third, it might be the nudge some churches need to move permanently from one service to multiple services.
What other low-tech ideas is your church using during pandemic to help people stay connected to worship, ministry and fellowship? Let us know in the comment section.
This article originally appeared here.