In different cultures at different times in history, the church scattered or persecuted has continued to live out its calling when not being able to gather together in larger groups. For centuries, that has been without the benefits of the sorts of technology we enjoy today. We acknowledge that many people from our churches, especially our older brothers and sisters, don’t have access to benefit from the strategies many are using during the current circumstances.
During this time, it would be good for us to remember that every day the Lord’s mercies are new and each day, not just Sundays, we can encourage our people to come to God in worship, prayer, bible reading, community and responding to God’s leading.
Here are some points to consider when ministering to people without the technological access that others have:
- Acknowledge there is something special about a faith community gathering together seeking God and encouraging one another. At the moment we can’t gather together but there are some elements we can continue to share
- Check each person’s tech capacity.
a). It is sometimes surprising how much technology some people in older generations are able to access. You may want to print out a little questionnaire for them which can be left outside their home, forwarded to you, or in a phone call find out:
– Do they have computers or smart phones?
– Can they text, use Facebook or Facetime?
– Can they email?
b). Consider devising a diversity of communication strategies depending on each person’s capacity.
- Provide a written liturgy
a). Create a 1 page printed outline to be dropped into people’s letterboxes (re emailed to those who have capacity) which could include:
– Printed Bible reading plans
– Written prayers for the day
– Prayer lists with current needs
– Song words
– Written script (and/or recorded) sermon
– A short thought from you (written or recorded)
– A space for people to respond with their personal thoughts & responses
b). Encourage people to call one person today and share their thoughts and pray together
- Suggest watching Songs of Praise on the ABC Sundays 11:29am -12:00pm while on the phone with a friend from church.
- Deliver a church news bulletin to keep people up to date
- Consider recording your message in an accessible format
a). on a DVD or CD
b). and/or Film a short video on your phone and upload it to youtube or vimeo then send a link to the video in an email.
- Provide printed offering envelopes if faithful givers want to continue to set aside their tithes
- Set up special pastoral care networks
a). Have a roster of phone calls or texts (see “circle of care” resources under “additional resources” on the Association Covid landing page).
b). Where possible (if technology access and skill is available) encourage facetime or other video calls so people can see faces