Connecting During COVID-19

-for my pastor friends and church leaders

These are some ways our church is working to connect during COVID-19.

In a world where the church can’t meet together, we need to find ways to be together.

  1. Streaming Video – Crazy as this may sound, streaming worship services is probably one of those things that is very important, but not very effective. Statistics show that the internet is just too distracting – even for the most well-produced video. Engagement times seldom last though-out the entire service and often are measured in seconds. But you almost have to do them. We will limit our music to a couple of songs and provide the sermon as well. We may do these live or we will release prerecorded services on Sunday mornings. (Note: You may want to use your headphone out jack from your sound board to get better sound to your camera.)
  2. Email – This is a way to connect with older people who have computers. Younger adults don’t check their email the way older ones do.
  3. US Mail – We will use this for those without internet. We produced a document with mailing addresses on it and distributed it to the congregation, asking them to send cards.
  4. Video Clips – We are planning to make short – very short – videos to stay in touch and post them on The Pastor’s Blog, Youtube, and Facebook. They will include information like prayer requests, announcements, comments from books being read, and devotions.
  5. Small Group Leaders Contact – We’re encouraging small group leaders to personally stay in touch with their small group members in whatever ways suit them – calling on the phone, texting, sending mail, producing video clips, and videoconferencing with them.
  6. Small Group Videoconferencing – We’re using ZOOM to hold small group meetings. At first, we are only using this time to pray. As people become more comfortable with it, we may widen our use of this tool. Zoom has a free account available.
  7. Deacon and Deaconess Assistance – We let our people know that the deacons and deaconesses are available to provide hands-on, so to speak, assistance should they need it. We are also re-tasking ministry groups that have a willingness to serve others (Alliance Women, Alliance Men, Helping Hands, etc.)
  8. Elder Contact – The elders divided the congregation into groups and are working to connect personally with each household on a weekly basis.
  9. Social Media – We are working to post a few times a day on Facebook.
  10. Free Books – When a publisher, like David C Cook, gives away an ebook, we post that on social media, encouraging people to get it.
  11. Portable Audio – We deliver portable audio players to those who are shut-in. We may expand that to those who have no internet.

We aim for redundancy, as we know people don’t use all of these tools. And we know people don’t pay attention – needing to hear things repeated.

What ideas do you have? Comment below, please!

Why Should I Attend Church? It Makes You More Resilient

Presented at Curwensville Alliance Church on 6/10/2018 by Pastor Steve Shields

From the series, Tools for Resilience

When I was a kid, I took guitar lessons every Thursday night. Mrs. Crate required I discipline myself to practice – every day.

And that’s all I could see. The drudgery of practice.

The songs she taught me didn’t help. Go Tell Aunt Roadie, On Top of Old Smoky, Red River Valley…. Drudgery.

And the lesson time wasn’t a real treat. Lectures on better fingering and callous development. Drudgery.

Learning guitar required discipline on my part.

Discipline without direction is drudgery.

When I went to college, something happened. I had a roommate who played the guitar. I mentioned that I always wanted to play, and he said, “I’ll teach you.”

I said, “That will be drudgery.”

He said, “No, it won’t. I’ll teach you well enough that you can make a tape and send it to Laurel.”

Suddenly, I saw purpose in the discipline. I had a direction: Learn to play well enough to play for your girlfriend!

And I learned to play.

Seeing myself playing the guitar on the back porch for Laurel – that was a direction I wanted to head.

My roommate gave me a direction that took away the drudgery.

I wish I could do that for you, in terms of corporate worship. I wish I could help you see yourself after a decade of prioritizing corporate worship.

I can’t do that, but you can.

Look at Christians whose faith you admire. You can have that.

Look at that man of prayer you wish you were like. You can be that guy.

Look at that person who walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death without fear. You can do that.

Look at that woman whose children respect and admire her. You can be her.

Part of making that happen is prioritizing corporate worship.

This podcast talks about how we can do this.