I’ve had several conversations/emails from Pastors leading smaller, older congregations asking something like, “How can I lead worship during this time?”
Often, the congregation is not on Facebook, individuals don’t have a computer, and are in the high-risk group for COVID-19. If this is you, keep reading. If it’s not, jump down to the section “Daily Devotional” below.
First, thank you for asking and seeking to find new ways to lead, worship, and care for the community of faith.
This is a leadership pivot. Here’s what I mean. Plant one foot in what is essential at this moment (faith, hope and love; Scripture, prayer, the spiritual disciplines; reminding people they are not alone, God is with them, etc)
Then scan for opportunities. Here are a few opportunities I found that may be helpful. Please comment below to share your resources, too!
Scanning for Opportunities
- Sign up at freeconferencecall.com
- You’ll get a phone number that you can then share.
- Everyone calls one number and you’re all on the line together.
- Do a devotion/prayer request/reflection time.
- Give people opportunities to talk too. Don’t be the only voice.
- This is a different medium. You’ll need to pivot to adapt to the medium.
- UPDATE from FreeConferenceCall.com (3-20-2020 email). To help alleviate the strain on their system, the following steps are suggested:
- Download The Mobile App. Tap here to Download for iPhone, here to Download for Android. This will give you the ability to call in over WiFi. Our app also has smart call routing so when you dial-in using your phone we’ll route you to carrier networks that have the most bandwidth.
- Download The Desktop App. This lets you call in using your computer and also lets you stay better connected with screen-sharing and video conferencing. Tap the following link and scroll down to Download the Desktop App.
- Schedule meetings to start 15 or 45 minutes past the hour rather than on the hour. Carrier networks are less congested at these times.
- Sign up for zoom.com (free version).
- Zoom uses both telephone and internet/video, so this can be an ideal solution for everyone.
- Distribute the phone number and link via a church mailing or phone chain.
- Share a devotion/prayer request/reflection time. Give people opportunities to talk too. Don’t be the only voice. This is a different medium. You’ll need to pivot to adapt to the medium
- The benefit of zoom is you can break people into groups. And some will be able to see one another, too. There is an app for smartphones and iPads, too.
Remind people we’re living in an ever-changing time. You might try a conference call a few times and find it works. You might do the same with zoom. It might be awkward, weird, and different.
And that’s ok.
Remember you can pivot at any time if you find a better solution.
Here’s what I wouldn’t do: don’t try one of the above options once and quit. There’s a learning curve for everyone. Be patient as you pilot.
And, yes, I may have written that as much as a reminder for you as for me.
Do one of the above at least weekly. Either of the above will be great for worship, a mid-week check-in, and meetings. Try something! That’s all I’m encouraging.
To help with the devotion piece, starting Sunday, Tim and I are facilitating a daily devotional.
I say facilitating because we’re inviting anyone to write a devotional. My point of bringing this is is to say, feel free to use one (or more as the weeks go on) on your calls outlined above. Here’s all we ask – acknowledge the writer, just like you’d do in a sermon. Give credit where credit is due. 🙂
If you sign up for “God Is With Us,” we’re also working on a pdf version that won’t be dated so it can be copied and mailed to people without email/tech.
Again, you can sign up to write or receive the devotional here: https://www.transformingmission.org/god-is-with-us/
For anyone who is tech-savvy, you can share this bit.ly link
bit.ly/GodwithUs (case sensitive)
Tell us in the comments, what are you doing to stay connected as a faith community and support those who are quarantined?