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What to Do in Ministry When You Have to Press Pause

Misty Phillips
Misty Phillips Tuesday April 7, 2020
<? echo $type; ?> What to Do in Ministry When You Have to Press Pause

At many churches around the country and around the world, we’ve pressed the pause button during this COVID-19 virus crisis. Pressing pause doesn’t mean that we’re no longer preaching the Gospel or ministering to people. It simply means we’re temporarily not doing things they way we’ve always done them.

This global pandemic is affecting all churches: big and small, rural and city, modern and traditional. Despite having to press pause on physically gathering together, church leaders still have an opportunity to be a bright shining beacon. In fact, this might be our time to shine more than ever.

Why? Because the church is not a location. We’re not limited by where and how we meet.

The Orange strategy happens when the light of the church (yellow) and the heart (red) of home come together. And the church has an amazing opportunity to be available FOR our communities. Now more than ever.

We reached out to a few leaders to learn what they were doing given the current climate with their teams and families and communities. They’re each leading in different ways during this time, but they’re each still leading.

Staying connected

We’ve lost the ability to meet in person, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost our connection to people. Church leaders everywhere are taking advantage of Google Hangouts, Zoom, and other online connect tools. Leaders are still finding ways to stay connected with their teams.

Anne Cretney from Sanctus Church says, “We’re doing weekly volunteer gatherings, touch points, and check-ins to make sure everyone is doing okay. We’re learning how we can be praying for one another. It’s just a short pop on, looking to connect while we are away from gathering together at church.”

A lesson for the future: Teams that use a virtual meeting will benefit with this efficient connect tool long after quarantine. Imagine how training, policy reminders, small group leader meetings will be streamlined with an online meet time.

Collaborate with families for engagement

Stephanie Watson at Woodland Hills Family Church is looking to keep her team and parents engaged. Their team is also doing Google hangouts for volunteers and team meetings. She has invited her team for input with creative ways to engage families during this time.

“We want to add value, not noise for families,” said Stephanie. “We don’t want to overwhelm them, but we want to meet them and resource them with easy to do help and ideas.”

Stephanie is inviting input from volunteers with ideas on their current story feeds, social media posts, and suggestions and helps on the weekly lessons Orange is providing. She calls her team to action to be on the lookout for great ideas.

Stephanie knows connection adds value, keeps her volunteers in the loop, and it opens an opportunity for creative ideas to help resource families. Your team wants to play a part in engaging families. They have some great ideas, too.

A lesson for the future: You widen your influence when all team members collaborate. Don’t undersell your wide pool of ideas. Invite other voices to plan, dream and add value.

Empowering small group leaders

In the present circumstances, the role of a small group leader is needed now more than ever. These volunteer leaders are on the front lines and staying connected with our kids and students.

Many of these small group leaders are using technology to stay connected to their few online. And for some, their small groups are actually more engaged while using a video chat. Kids may actually be less distracted while using technology than they are in a normal small group setting.

More importantly, it’s crucial that these groups continue to meet. This is a time of uncertainty for us as church leaders—and that’s even more the case for the next generation. During the virus outbreak, they still need a safe space to share and learn—even if that’s through a video chat.

A lesson for the future: Pouring into small group leaders gives them the encouragement and ability to continue leading their few through tough times. Finding the courage to continue leading now will help them forge lasting connections in the future and build them up as leaders.

Find low tech solutions

Technology isn’t the only way to stay in touch with families. Believe it or not, snail mail is still a thing. And a handwritten letter or personal note can go a long ways toward showing a family that your church still cares about them.

Encourage your team and volunteers to write letters to families in your community. Kids and students will be glad to know you’re thinking of them as they adjust to a new normal. And their parents will appreciate the thoughtfulness of a personal connection.

The technology we have available is amazing. But it’s not the only tool we can use to stay in touch when we’re paused. Remember to use all resources at your disposal to continue leading.

Action Plan for the future: Engaging with kids and parents has many opportunities. How will you use ALL the tools available? Include all tools in your recipe for connection to help you partner with kids and families. Don’t just rely on one source of connection.

What are you doing during this pause?

We’re in this time of pause together adjusting. We’d love to hear about the creative ways you are connecting with your team, your families and community.  We are so grateful for ideas YOU have to engage your team, build into the future and partner with parents while we serve remote.

Misty Phillips loves connecting, talking strategy and problem solving with leaders. Learning must never stop as you lead—she learned this as a Children’s Ministry leader while she and her husband had four kids. The fun never stops at Misty’s house!