There’s probably not a single ministry in your church right now that is not feeling the effects of COVID19. Whether it’s your media ministry learning how to live-stream or your small group leaders learning how to lead on Zoom, everyone is learning to do ministry differently.
One area that I would imagine has felt the most impact is your church’s communications. It may be your social media, your website, or your weekly email to your congregation. There is a tremendous amount of pressure to communicate more effectively than ever before.
In this post, we’re going to look at four immediate effects of COVID-19 on your church’s communication and how you can retool your communications to adapt.
- Your church does not have everyone’s full attention.
One of the advantages of Sunday morning worship is that you have your audience’s full attention. Of course, people still look at their phones or daydream during worship, but for the most part you have their attention.
However, when you remove that weekly ritual of coming to a physical location and instead replace it with a screen (i.e., live streaming of worship), your audience’s attention will inevitably be fractured. So you’re now in a situation where you may get a few minutes here or there, but not a full hour like you would on Sunday morning.
A fractured attention span will require you to think in “micro-moments.” By “micro-moments,” I’m referring to thinking of small moments through which you can connect to keep the audience’s attention. Instead of thinking of our sermon as one 30-minute monologue, think of how you can break it up into ten 3-minute segments. Yes, it will still be one cohesive sermon, but consider how you can keep the audience’s attention for each segment since their attention is fractured.
- You’re now on equal footing with every church on the globe.
In a pre-COVID world, people typically judged churches on how big their buildings were or how large their attendance was. If you had excellent facilities and a growing audience, then you could, in turn, attract more people.
However, when we move to everything being in a purely digital space, every church is equal. Sure some churches have more resources, but they all have the same platforms at their disposal. Websites, emails, and social media platforms are available to every single church. This availability means that every church has an equal opportunity to reach people in their community.
- The worship service is no longer your primary method of communication.
I’ve long been a proponent of shaping your social media around the worship service. I pushed for this because the worship service was the one communal event that a congregation shared. The other advantage was that the worship service was a prime place to communicate your top priorities to your congregation.
However, as I explained in point #1, your congregation’s attention is fractured. You’re only getting a small sliver of their attention. This means that you’re going to need to find new ways to communicate your key messages to your audience.
- You can only provide your audience with one call to action.
We’ve all seen those church bulletins that are filled with multiple events, Bible studies, and mission trip opportunities. But we’re now in a place where either worship service is online, and you can’t physically hand someone a bulletin; or you’re currently meeting in person, and you can’t hand anyone a bulletin for fear of spreading COVID.
The lack of a physical handout is going to require you to pare down your messages to a single call to action. What is the one thing you want your congregation to do? When they leave the worship service either in your building or online, would they know what the next action is? These questions will need to be a primary driver when you’re planning your worship services.
While we’re all hoping that we can return to some sort of normal in the next few months, there’s a high probability that some of these effects will be permanent. The challenge will be for your church to be agile enough to adapt to these changes and propel the church into the future.
Posted on July 16, 2020
Darrel Girardier serves as the Communications Director at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee where he oversees the digital, design and video production teams. Previously, he was a Creative Director at LifeWay Christian Resources.
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