Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, work as we know it has shifted to digital means in quick fashion. The Church has responded rapidly using streaming and social media tools to keep church services and ministries going while we ride out the storm together. Technology has made congregational meeting possible, but what about Small Group ministry? How can we encourage (and even enable) people to meet if local and federal government is prohibiting gatherings?
Ministry leaders and individuals have found that physical barriers all but blur when it comes to connecting digitally. With the help of video chat technology like FaceTime, people are checking in with friends and family members. Some even hold group chats with loved ones across the nation. Is there a way to harness this to help Small Groups organize and equip volunteers to become digital facilitators?
By way of description, not prescription, we’re sharing how our Small Groups team has taken on the challenge of implementing digital technology. As we enter into a new quarter of ministry, we’re doing something that seems odd in the current climate.
We’re not cancelling Small Group sign ups.
As you may have seen from our Instagram post, we’re making sure that leaders are connecting with their small groups. We call them our “frontline pastors” and they are crucial to keeping people connected to the church and to each other. Here are three ways that we’ve made sure that Small Groups can move forward.
1. Respond with understanding and compassion
When the world changes as quickly as we’ve seen, people need to know that they are not alone and they can turn to the church for support. This support reaches into people’s lives emotionally, spiritually, and in some cases meeting physical needs.
2. Maintain a sense of normalcy
Even though life has obviously changed, there is comfort in the familiar. Holding church (even from the internet) is calming, hearing from your Small Group leader is enjoyable. Here’s Dave Enns on how we prompted our leaders.
3. Equip leaders to use new tools
Once you figure out the means by which Small Groups can continue, it’s important to train and equip your leaders to use the tools. We’ve done that in a variety of ways.
Here’s a glimpse at how we’ve done that:
- Personal message from Small Groups pastor explaining the changes
- Introduction to the recommended tool to facilitate groups
- Training options to get leaders familiar with the new tools by offering a variety of times to accommodate schedules
- Reassurance that this is new for everyone and we’ll walk through this time together
Ministry certainly looks different than it did just 3 short weeks ago. With a little elbow grease, a lot of prayer, and the support of fellow Kingdom workers, ministry will still happen.
Do you need help navigating the rapid change in your ministry?
Let us know how we can serve you by clicking the ASK LARRY button above.