Suggestions for Elders in a Covid-19 Environment

What a challenging time to do ministry! Your primary job as an elder is to represent Christ’s grace and truth among God’s people, but that is harder to do when you can’t get together with people face to face. So how can you make good connections with one another and with your church’s members? 

There are lots of helpful tools these days, and your church might consider designating one or two tech-savvy people to help all of your council members get connected in any of the following ways:

  • Consider a video tool like Zoom for conducting one-on-one or group meetings. For guidance on using this video platform see "Zoom Tips for Newbies", from Church Juice. Unlimited 1 to 1 meetings are free with this particular tool. Purchase a Zoom license if you want to go beyond 40-minute group meetings (beginning at $14.99/month USD). It takes a little getting used to but once you get over the novelty and initial awkwardness meetings can be very fruitful! 

  • Facebook messenger is an app that is available to you even if you don’t have a Facebook account. 

  • You could also check out other apps: WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, Life360 and many others.

  • If you are a Google user then you have access to the Google Hangouts tool.

  • Microsoft Teams is a tool that is available in Microsoft 365.

Of course, using your phone to talk or text is a good option, as is email. Remember that the more personal the connection the better. So: Print messages like texts and emails are good but phone calls are better. Voice calls are good but video calls are better (if your members are okay with connecting over video).

Whatever tools you use keep the following suggestions in mind:

  1. Prepare your congregation. Let everyone know you and your fellow leaders are committed to connecting with members. Indicate that you may be using some new tools to do that, including online tools, social networking tools, and so on. Coronavirus is moving all of us into a “let’s try it out” age. 

  2. Commit to connecting proactively with all of the people in your fellowship group/district/grow group. People will need assurance, at some level, that your church is still a living community even if the congregation cannot worship together on Sundays.

  3. Commit to connecting with people in the hospital and those who are ill at home just as often as you would normally. 

  4. The people you call may have questions about how the church is going to function in the Covid-19 environment. Don’t feel like you have to be the answer person. If you don’t know how to respond to their question then say, “That’s a good question. I’ll see if I can get an answer for you.” And then make good on your promise.

  5. If your church has a website then try using it in new ways. Your council, church staff, or pastor(s) might consider creating short, devotional videos for your people, and posting them on your church’s website. The video devotionals could be related to weekly sermons, your own experiences of the Covid-19 landscape, and so on.

Finally, as you are doing the hard work of creating connections and then making connections with people be sure to tend to your own soul. Be in the Bible and in prayer, making the most important connection of all, your connection to God. He loves you, your church, and your people more than you can imagine.

Check out the article Communicating Clearly: How to Handle Coronavirus at Your Church for additional suggestions on making connections. 

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