The COVID-19 crisis has brought unique challenges for church communities — particularly related to direct and timely communication. As a fruit of working with thousands of churches to communicate through this crisis, we felt it would be helpful to share some of the insights we’ve learned so far:
We need to hear from you (church leaders) right now
People are turning to the government, schools, health officials and the media for answers. And while those each have their role to play, none of them can give folks the most important answers they need right now – not like you can. As leaders in the Church, that is your job and your people very much need to hear from you more than normal. Yet at this unique time when we need our churches more, we are asked to stay home instead. Now is the time to find new ways to lead, and give hope and light amidst many critical, dark, myopic, fear-driven messages being spread right now.
See the opportunity
Trials have huge potential to bring us together. Nobody knows that better than Christians. Choose to see this as an opportunity to make your community stronger and to grow closer together as a result.
A time for personal growth
Help your people see that despite the hardships they may be incurring, it is also a unique opportunity for their own personal development and spiritual growth. Most of us are getting the chance to either be alone more or to spend more time with immediate family — to be home together and more present with each other. This is a great gift not to be wasted. [This article makes this point beautifully.]
Can you hear me now (that we’re in the middle of a crisis)?
Whether you had your church communications-house in order before the crisis or not, we’ve all now been reminded of just how important the ability to communicate is. Communications is the linchpin to making everything else you do work better. It’s more important than any other tool or software or project you have going on. Because if you can’t reach your people right now, none of those other things work. If you want to manage your financial needs through this crisis, or comfort your people, or hear their needs so you can best serve them, encourage virtual participation, or turn this into an opportunity to grow closer, etc. then you simply must be able to reach your people directly and immediately. And do so without them having to download an app, log in somewhere, join a social network, or jump through any other hoops. You need their cell phone, their email address, and a way to use them. That’s Flocknote.
If you need help 1) getting set up to text or email your people or 2) expanding the reach you currently have to more of your ministries and groups, we are here to help you. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and our team is ready to support you.
Things you should be communicating at this time
Once you have your communications-house in order, then you can address other important needs and opportunities during this crisis, like:
- Keep everyone in the loop on up-to-the-minute updates (whether via email or text message, whatever is more appropriate).
- Ask your community for any special needs they have (and capture/respond to all their replies in one place).
- Directly share any links to live-streamed events, classes, or masses you are doing.
- Allow people to give money electronically since they won’t be there in person.
- Pray, pray, pray together (and ask for specific prayer requests)
- Give hope, consolation, inspiration during this challenging time (whether a short video from the pastor, thoughtful words, or other digital resources).
- Provide faith formation to everyone and engage in helpful discussions. If they aren’t in the pew, give them something else to do!
- Ex: …like our ENGAGE program with Bishop Barron – which you can use for free for 30 days. It offers pre-made content that you can personalize, and send! Then your people can view it free at the click of a button. No logins. No codes. No fuss.
Ready to support you
Thanks be to God, Flocknote was well prepared for this coronavirus crisis. We were ready for the increased load to our system and have since done (and continue to do) a lot more to increase our capacity to ensure future stability. Additionally, our Happiness Engineers have been monitoring around the clock and putting in the extra effort to make sure we continue to provide excellent and timely customer service during these uncertain and quickly changing times, and creating COVID-19 email templates you can use from our Flocknote Library. And since our whole team already works remotely, we were already set up to simply keep our operations running smoothly, despite the social disruption to so many workplaces. We appreciate your concerns for our team and want to assure you that we are in a good place to continue serving you as we all do our part to get through this crisis together.
God be with you,