The novel Coronavirus has shaken the world, but this is a time for churches to stand up as beacons of hope. Although the pandemic has produced a number of challenges, it’s more important than ever to stay active as a church.
A third of congregations have no savings, and the pandemic only increases the financial and operational risks for churches.
So if you’re wondering how to grow a church during a pandemic, here’s what you can do to keep your church alive and thriving during these difficult times.
1. How to Grow a Church in a Pandemic
Despite the isolation and stay-at-home orders, there’s still a way to build your church. Just because people can’t attend in person, doesn’t mean you can’t get eyes on your church.
The reality is that there aren’t a whole lot of opportunities for in-person engagement. This can be immobilizing for some, but this also means that your church can help meet this need.
You can volunteer your church to make home grocery deliveries to those who have been incapacitated by the pandemic.
For elderly members of the community, or those who are isolated in quarantine, this can be a great service that increases community engagement with your church.
Now that everyday interactions have become mostly remote, the internet is where the attention is.
Building your online presence is now more important and achievable than ever. The outlets you should use to build your online presence include a church website and social media. Here are some specific strategies to do it.
2. Live Streaming for Churches
Live streaming has become one of the major ways to host regular church services safely during the pandemic.
It’s a great way to broadcast your church, stay active, and build your online presence to attract more members.
The good news is that you can find completely free live streaming services such as Twitch, YouNow, and Free Conference Call, or social media platforms.
You can also choose a simple or more professional-grade set up for live streaming. Your basic equipment includes a laptop, desktop computer, or mobile device with a decent mic and camera to capture the stream.
A good live stream has quality lighting and audio so that it attracts viewers. If your devices don’t have quality audio or video quality, you may want to invest in church stage lighting packages or external mics.
So if you have active social media pages, why do you need a website?
A website establishes your authority as a legitimate organization. It can be hard to keep with everything that you’re doing online, so a website can help you manage that activity and make your online presence more official.
You should also use your website as an online home base to centralize all the information about your online activity.
Create a blog for your website and use this space to dive deeper into subjects that you haven’t yet included in sermons. Or talk about the ways your church is staying active and offering resources during the pandemic.
4. Start a YouTube Channel
A YouTube channel is a great way to engage people using video. This works particularly well for sermons produced in series or collections. YouTube allows you to create playlists, which organizes videos into relevant categories.
This way, you can produce weekly video sermons on the same topic and keep them organized on one platform.
If you want to use YouTube for live streaming as well, this is a good platform to start a bible study. Since bible studies are interactive, you can use the “live chat” feature on YouTube so attendees can engage in real-time conversation.
5. Start a Podcast
This is a more relaxed platform that doesn’t require the whole live service set up. Instead, you simply grab a mic and read from a script, if you wish. Podcasts traditionally use audio-only, and one to two mics, so you don’t need any elaborate visual effects.
If you have multiple speakers, podcasts are a great place to invite different speakers onto the platform. You can assign a day to each speaker, then publish the podcast for people to listen to at their own leisure.
Unlike a live stream, a podcast allows users to playback recordings at their own convenience, in case they can’t attend live streams.
6. Use Instagram for Visual Exposure
Instagram is the platform for visuals. It’s hard to be physically noticed in a remote world, but Instagram is the perfect tool to express your church and what it’s all about.
You should start using “Stories,” which are designed to be standstill snapshots that illustrate a day-in-the-life moment.
Whatever activities your church is involved in, you can use Instagram Stories to document those activities in a slideshow of photos.
If you have slides from your sermons, you can take screenshots of the slides and post them as one Story.
You can also post to Instagram to promote your live-streamed services. Post shorter videos that highlight important parts of your sermons so you can draw people in.
Use longer videos on dive deeper into subjects within your sermon or feature praise and worship music.
When users are able to see you, it’s much easier to get their attention and increase your reach.
7. Grow Online Community with Twitter and LinkedIn
Twitter and LinkedIn are some of the best places to grow your community online by gathering new members. While other online platforms help you engage with a community that you already know, Twitter and LinkedIn help you reach people you don’t know.
When you tweet, your messages show up on other people’s timelines whose accounts share the same interest. You can also connect with other churches and engage with them to see how they’re interacting with the community during the pandemic.
If you Tweet regularly and often, the platform will promote your tweets to more users at a time.
Unemployment has risen due to the virus and in-person channels of work. This means that many have taken to online job opportunity platforms like LinkedIn.
Your church can take this time to connect with those that are seeking hope. Other than job placement, your church can use LinkedIn as a platform to blog or share full blog posts from your website.
Instead of having “followers” LinkedIn allows you to gather online “connections” with people.
Since LinkedIn is traditionally used to locate new job opportunities, you can also use the platform to recruit people for roles in your church.
If you choose to do this, you should look for content writers, video editors, or social media managers who can help you with some of these online tasks and identify with your church values.
How to Grow a Church? Use Empathy
Adversity and necessity bring people together. While COVID-19 is a novel virus, it also presents a unique opportunity to empathize with people. Building your community is one of the most important things you can do for others and your church–that’s why it’s important to know how to grow a church.
Need some more inspiration for creative ways to stay active in the challenging times? Take a look at some of our other articles to read more!