I am currently serving a church that is exactly 3,068 miles from my home. As an interim pastor, I spend two weeks a month at the church I serve, and I lead the church remotely the remaining weeks. In some ways, I am already skilled at running parts of the church remotely, but to run an entire church virtually is a new challenge!
Here are some practical ways the staff and I are leading through this crisis moment:
More Time with Staff
- We have a remote all-staff prayer meeting once a week for a half hour and our elders join us as they are able.
- Our staff meetings have grown from two hours to three hours as we prayerfully brainstorm how to best engage and lead our congregation.
- The staff also has an online check-in meeting on Thursday mornings to touch base in preparation for our weekend services.
Increase in Church-Wide Communication
- We send our regular all church e-News on Thursdays, and I write two all-church e-Letters a week to be an online pastoral presence for our church. For an example you can click here.
- We have updated the main page of our website with three buttons: 1) Those who NEED HELP, 2) those who CAN HELP, and 3) those who WANT TO JOIN AN ONLINE GROUP.
- We host three online services on Sundays because we want to honor the rhythms of our church members and attenders (the 8 p.m. service was added for parents in particularly active households, so they can watch after the kids are in bed).
- Our Community Life Director actively hosts our online gatherings, and I stay online afterwards to greet people and answer any questions people may have.
- Our online services are intentionally kept between 30 and 40 minutes long for two reasons: 1) To accommodate online attention spans and 2) To encourage our church to invite their unchurched family and friends to join us online.
- Our mid-week Community Groups, Care Groups, and Prayer Group have taken their groups online.
- We have a Care Call Team whose first priority is staying in touch with our Boomer and Builder populations, as well as those we know are immune system compromised.
- The church has a strong educator population and our Family Life Pastor is working with them to serve our families who have suddenly found themselves in the homeschooling world with online resources, Q&A times, and workshops.
- Our active outreach is focused on providing snacks for health care workers at local hospitals and coming alongside a non-profit that provides about 250 lunches for the homeless a week. We are actively looking for additional ways to connect with the most vulnerable in the community, as well as with those who serve them.
We have a strong sense that God is up to something powerful in this pandemic moment. A fellow pastor said, “Detoxification is the physiological or medicinal removal of toxic substances from a living organism. God is using this season. Though it’s uncomfortable, it will result in better spiritual and emotional health.” We believe this is true—and we want to stay humble and creative as we live out the Great Commandment and live into the Great Commission.
If VitalChurch Ministry can serve you in any way, please let us know. God bless and God’s speed.