COVID-19 has brought so much change to the world as a whole, and definitely to the “normal” of the church world. From fear and uncertainty, to restrictions and busted budgets, church leaders have found themselves mixed up in a different set of circumstances than we’ve ever had to deal with before.
With all that said, God is still God, and the church is still the Hope of the World. We can never get distracted from that. We may have to adjust our weekly schedules, but we never adjust the mission of the church. As church leaders, we answered the call of God to LEAD – not only when things are normal, but no matter what things look like.
We don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that God has not left our side. He’s still looking to us to lead His people and continue to do everything we can to be effective as a church.
At the time of this writing, many churches have re-opened, but are now seeing the number of cases rise and the question of another shut-down is circling (if you haven’t already).
With these things in mind, I wanted to share a few thoughts about leading during all this.
7 Tips for Leading Your Church Through COVID
1. BE OK WITH NOT KNOWING
As leaders, it’s easy to develop an internal expectation that we’re supposed to have all the answers. The crazy idea that if we can’t walk into a room and emphatically know everything, we must not be a strong leader. Don’t fall into that.
One of the most refreshing things you can do in times like this, is to be OK with Not Knowing.
- How long will this pandemic last? I don’t know.
- Will churches be closed for the next several months? I don’t know
- Will it get worse before it gets better? I don’t know
It’s not WEAK to be transparent and real. It’s refreshing not only to you, but also to your team when you lead strong, but also with the clarity that you’re not sure.
2. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CONGREGATION
As we track through this pandemic, there are probably lots of adjustments being made at your church. My church just postponed a big kids event we do every year. We also halted groups for the next few weeks.
Make sure to communicate with your congregation, not only WHAT you’re doing, but WHY you’re making that decision. For the most part, the people will get behind you as they watch you lead with humility and honor, trying to do your best with every situation. But they can’t SEE that if you don’t communicate WHAT you’re doing and WHY you’re doing it.
3. COMMUNICATE MORE WITH YOUR LEADERS
Now is a perfect opportunity to prove that you want to lead WITH others. Sure, you could sit back with one other person and make all the decisions, but that’s not the best way to lead. Leading WITH people is the best way to lead.
- When there are new developments, talk to your leaders.
- When there’s a change of plans, make sure they’re the first ones to know.
- When you aren’t sure about something, get a few of them together (even if it’s on a Zoom call) and ask for their input.
Leaders level-up when they’re brought to the table. So, bring them to the table.
4. MAXIMIZE YOUR ONLINE PRESENTATION
It’s likely that you’ve already been pushed to take a close look at your online presentation. Without live church services, we can still deliver the worship experience and preached WORD.
Even if you’re a smaller church, you can quickly and inexpensively get setup to stream live on Facebook.
If you’re trying to figure out how to get this started, here’s a BIG tip for you: ASK SOMEBODY.
Find a church in your area who is a few steps ahead of your church, and they’re doing online well. Then simply reach out to them and ask for their help. Ask them what type of camera you should get. They may even have one you can use to prerecord your services.
Don’t be too proud to ask a fellow Pastor for help.
5. KEEP A CLOSER EYE ON THE BUDGET
One of the hardest hit areas of churches is the budget. We’ve heard from churches who have maintained their regular contributions, but there are also many churches who have experienced a decrease in giving.
During this time, it’s important to keep a closer eye on the budget than you normally would. Income and expenses both are more volatile during situations like this.
If you normally have a quarterly budget review, you may should consider a monthly review until this season passes. It can be a “lite” version where you only review the income and major expenses, but it will keep you from waking up 3 months from now to a big deficit.
6. MAKE IT EASY TO GIVE
We’ve talked about this before, but it’s SO important that you make it easy for people to continue giving financially. Some people won’t feel comfortable coming back to a live service for a while, but they still want to support the church financially.
Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Continue to offer a way people can either mail their contribution, or drop it off at the church.
- Make SURE you have Online Giving setup. If you’re a Faith Teams user, this is included in your account. Reach out to us and let us help you get it activated. This will allow people to give from their phones or computers.
- Make it CLEAR: Communicate in every service the WAYS people can give, and THANK THEM for being so faithful in these uncertain times.
7. CONTINUE TO CARE
Our job as Pastors is to CARE for the congregation and community. Whether you’re having live services or not, make sure to continue to care for the people.
- Kids are still graduating from school. Call to congratulate them.
- People are still going to the hospital. Even if you can’t visit in person, call to check on them and pray with them.
- Big Decisions are still being made by families. Call to let them know you’re praying with them.
- Marriages are still being challenged. Check in with any couples you hear may be struggling.The point: Don’t stop the job of CARING simply because they’re not there in person. “Out of sight” can’t mean “out of mind” for us.
We say it often… Here at Faith Teams, we’re Pastors and Church Leaders just like you. We’re going through the same things you are. We want you to know that we believe in you and are praying for God’s wisdom, guidance and safety for you, your family and your church.