Let’s face it, this coronavirus outbreak is the new normal.
And as more days go by, it seems that we will be self-quarantined for the near future.
But this time should not be lost.
In fact, there are thousands of churches out there that are using this time to continue to GROW.
Even though you aren’t able to physically meet, there is a lot that you can do online to continue to connect with your church family, and even grow your church.
Think about it this way, mostly EVERYONE is stuck at home.
A lot of free time has now opened up.
And if someone was thinking about checking out a church, it is much easier to watch a service online, then to physically drive to a church to visit.
Growth during this self-quarantine is not just a pipe dream, but a real possibility!
But something like this can only be done if your church is making the most out of this time and utilizing all of the tools and resources at their disposal.
So if your church is looking for new ideas for your online services, then you’re in the right place!
We’ve scoured the internet and compiled a list of the best ideas churches are currently using for their online services.
Use these ideas to further the connection you currently have with your church family, while also promoting a fun and spiritual place for new visitors to join!
Let’s jump in!
1. Use Zoom for Online Services
While it has been great seeing churches in droves make the move to streaming their services online, it has come at the loss of some interaction among church families.
This is a problem that an online tool like Zoom can solve.
Zoom gives you the opportunity to hold an interactive service, where you can schedule a time before, during, or after for your members to connect and share with others.
Another reason for using Zoom is that it encourages listeners to give their full attention to the online service. It can be far too easy to throw on a livestream on Facebook Live or YouTube, and begin to do the laundry or wash some dishes, which can take a big part of your attention.
If you’re holding an interactive service with Zoom, more people will be inclined to give their full, undivided attention and eliminate their own distractions at the same time.
2. Host Online Prayer Meetings Using Zoom
While we’re on the subject of online tools, you should be hosting a weekly prayer meeting with your congregation. This can easily be done using a tool like Zoom as well.
Online prayer meetings will promote connection with your church during this time where people are longing for connection with others.
Not only will this online prayer meeting help your church stay connected, but this will also give you an opportunity to pray for others in your church.
3. Have a Drive-in Service
One trend that has been popping up since this outbreak has been that of a drive-in service, which entails people physically driving to a church parking lot and listening to a service through either a loud speaker or a radio transmitter.
What’s great about this type of service is that it requires people to physically go somewhere to “attend service” which in turn allows people to stay focused on the message while there.
Because this type of service is different then just a normal online service, we have seen some of these drive-in services go viral with thousands of shares and hundreds of new visitors in attendance.
4. Host Mid-Week Services for Groups in Your Church
Many are searching for ways to remain connected to their church friends, and a mid-week group meeting with others in your life stage is a perfect opportunity to do so.
Nothing can be more uplifting and refreshing than sharing with a small group of others in your church. This gives people the opportunity to get transparent, while sharing in an intimate setting of a small group of people.
While this time of self-quarantine does require physical distance from others, you can actually use this time to promote an opportunity for your church family to grow even closer than it has ever been before.
By equipping your church staff with the technology they need to host virtual mid-week services, Bible studies, or small group meetings.
For some ideas, check out How to Take our Church Virtual (Fast): The Ultimate Guide to Church Live-Streaming During Crisis.
5. Have a Time of Worship during Your Online Services
While it might be difficult to get a group of people such as a worship team to gather during this season, this doesn’t mean you can’t have your worship team gather online through a tool like Zoom, and hold a worship time during your service.
It might not sound or look the best, but giving people the opportunity to worship together will bring your online service to another level spiritually.
And this can easily be done by holding an online meeting on Zoom and allowing your worship team to simply sing.
6. Offer Daily Devotional Plans/Content to Your Church Family
Due to this outbreak and self-quarantine, many people are stuck at home with a lot of free time.
Because of this, many in your church are searching for ways to grow spiritually.
While there are a lot of general resources accessible online, why not use this as an opportunity to further connect with your church with personalized content?
For example, offer daily devotionals or ask your Facebook groups daily questions.
This will promote engagement and connection and will give you an opportunity to stay connected during this time.
7. Ask Your Members to Invite Friends to Your Online Services
Churches currently have a really unique opportunity that most are overlooking.
Most of the time, when your members invite friends to church, it requires the new visitors to take a physical step in actually attending a church and going through a possibly awkward first time, which drives most new visitors away from actually attending.
Because all churches are going online, that physical step is now done away with, and attending a church’s service has never been easier for new visitors!
It is vital that you take the time to ask your members to invite their friends and family to your church’s online service. While it may seem like something that doesn’t need to be said, actually asking your church to invite others will greatly increase action from your members.
So just ask!
8. Use Digital Connection Cards
Most churches have a time either before or during their service where they ask new visitors to fill out a connection card and turn it in to someone in the lobby.
With online services, you can still give your “new visitors” the opportunity to fill out some type of a connection card.
You can easily create a digital form that asks for a name, phone, and email using an online tool like Google Forms. Then at some point during your online service, direct new visitors to fill out the form at the given URL for some added incentive.
You can even have a little fun with it and offer new visitors a small gift card to Uber Eats for filling out the form.
9. Spread the Love. Help Your Community in Any Way You Can
This may go without saying, but even though your church cannot physically meet, you can still do a lot for your community during this time.
All over the world, many are struggling to get daily essentials like food, water, and other toiletries due to being laid off or other struggles with finances.
Take this opportunity to do some of the following:
- Send gift cards.
- Provide an “essentials” gift basket with toiletries.
- Safely host a drive-by event where you provide toiletries/water.
- Ask on Facebook if there is a need, and provide it.
10. Host a Virtual Game Night for Teens in Your Church
Teenagers are currently being overlooked within most churches during this self-quarantine.
Most events being held online are geared toward adult members of your church, and there is not much aimed specifically at teens.
But teenagers are going through some of the same issues adults are—loss of routine, missing friends, and concern for the future.
To help teens feel connected socially, encourage your youth pastor to host a weekly virtual game night for teens in your church. Focus on making this a time where they can “get together” with other teens in your church for fellowship and fun.
11. Just Do Something
A lot of the time, churches overthink new ideas and feel they need to make everything perfect before actually incorporating it into their church
This is one of those times where you need to just do something. Anything.
Let go of the expectation to look or sound perfect, and just give people the opportunity to connect with your church during this time.
I know this whole online church thing might mean stepping out of your comfort zone in most ways, but it is vital for you to stay connected with your church family without physically meeting.
Use this self-quarantine as an opportunity to not only reach out to your current church family, but also to new people in your community; so many are longing for some form of connection right now, and why not lead them to the best relationship they can have—with Jesus Christ.
Coronavirus tool kit for pastors and church leaders: