Doing Worship/Church in God’s World Today!

My how the world has changed, and so must we all in order to survive and thrive!

We will need to embrace a “new normal.”  Think of ways you can adjust your ministry and mission to get back open, while being safe. Timing is critical here.  How do you handle social distancing, staffing issues, marketing, adjusting hours, being locally oriented, helping your community, keeping all of your workers, guests and members safe?  How does the church show leadership in caring for the community?

These are just a few issues that you’ll need to think about and tailor to your church being open to members and the community.

Is your facility clean and how will you make sure it stays that way?   Will those who come feel safe?  Don’t forget the messaging from your employees and volunteers towards members and visitors; it needs to be welcoming, upbeat and sincere.  Make sure they know how to listen.

In the sanctuary  does your seating design show social distancing?  Do you have ushers and greeters stationed at a safe distance and allow for people to pick-up their own bulletin or use screens in the worship center to guide folks through the service (or both).

Ushers can escort members and visitors to their seats.  Pews can be robed off to allow designation for safe distancing.  Always have your staff and volunteers think about their health, as much as your members and guests, respecting each others space.
Do you have a plan for people leaving the sanctuary and a spaced out in orderly fashion?  Possibly released by an usher row by row similar to what happens after weddings or funerals.

How will you let people know you are open?  About your changes? (emails, Facebook, twitter, & the postal service)

Do you have hand sanitizers available for people to use?  Can you provide more open space to make people more comfortable?

Can you adjust your restrooms for single use or have an assigned attendant to keep everything clean and sanitized?

Providing a safe environment will have people appreciate their coming to worship and church then feel good about returning.  We need people to return in the weeks and months ahead.

The most important things that will get people back are to show how you support your community during difficult times and how you take care of your guests and members.

Highlight the fact that quality of service and care in having people see that your facility is safe and open is most important now than ever before!

If I can be of any help just let me know.

I didn’t think of everything here for every situation but wanted to set a context for phasing people back into the worship space/church building from having been on FaceBook live, Zoom video conferencing, drive-in church, or Youtube presentations during the critical phase of this pandemic that we hopefully seem to becoming out of and moving into a phase of caution and some openness.

These are some tips adapted from consulting with congregations for over 20 years on being welcoming and hospital via our Blueprints for Congregation Out Reach & Media Designs at PMM.

Gregg Hartung,

Director of Presbyterian Media Mission