3 responses to the Covid-19 situation for churches
The changes unfolding due to Covid-19 are rapid and uncertain – the needs of all organisations to adapt are becoming more obvious with each passing hour. For larger organisations adapting may feel straightforward but for churches, that can often be harder.
This short guide aims to help your church think through some immediate key issues on how to communicate when the normal processes may seem difficult.
– Stress test your systems and processes
Many churches operate systems that are entirely run by volunteers and good will. While this a good thing, it’s also imperative that churches understand what systems they have in place, and what capacity they have to support the increasing burdens that churches may need to put on them over the coming weeks and months.
Make sure that you have a few people with the appropriate log in details where possible. Ensure the health of assets such as your website, and make sure that services such as your web-hosting and streaming capabilities are at the level you may need them to be.
– Be careful of the legal implications/restrictions on using some tools
There are multiple ways of communicating quickly, and utilising tools such as Facebook Live to livestream a service is a great way to connect with people quickly. Be aware that there are limitations and restrictions on services such as Facebook live; it’s worth being familiar with those issues before you become too dependent on them.
– Have a website as a central resource
When information is being gathered and communicated frequently and rapidly, there is every possibility of messages becoming confused quickly. Having multiple streams of information is helpful, but you should aim to have one centralised place for people to get the most up-to-date information with all other communication channels directing people back to that source
I’d recommend having a page such as ‘yourchurchname.com/covid19’ as the place for people to go to – keep the url as short and as easy to remember as possible to help people access it easily.
If you don’t currently have a website, or know of a church that would benefit from a quick pop-up website to help you communicate over the coming months, please let me know – I’ll be happy to do what I can to help.
Bear in mind that being dependent on third-party channels such as Facebook will mean that you are exposed to whatever downtime/outages/restrictions they may experience. As more and more organisations also look to put information in the same channels, you can expect to see a possible reduction in the number of people who would organically find your content due to the volume of similar posts.
5 tools that could be a big help to your communication:
If you don’t already have Google Drive, it’s highly recommended – if you have a gmail email address you may already have access to Google Drive without knowing it.
Google Drive has multiple uses, but especially useful is the ability to share documents and sheets (just like Mircrosoft and Excel) between different team members and to work remotely on projects together.
You can find Google Drive here.
Slack is an excellent all-round tool to help talk in groups and sub-groups and especially recommended for groups who are working in projects together. Slack also integrates well with a range of other tools such as Google Drive which makes it a great all-rounder for collective work.
You can find Slack here.
WhatsApp is a great free messaging tool, especially for short bursts to large groups of people, or as a way to keep in touch with friends and family. In times of isolation, WhatsApp is also a great messaging tool.
Due to its layout, I wouldn’t recommend it for larger groups who are planning events/shared workload, but I’d suggest Slack as being a great option for that.
You can download WhatsApp for your phone, or desktop.
Zoom or Skype
Zoom and Skype have similar features, both being tools that are useful for video conferencing and voice calls. There are some variations on each so it would be worth checking both out individually.
You can download Skype here, or download Zoom here.
Screencastify is a great tool that allows you to record short videos directly from your browser.
Screencastify offers a free option which allows you to record short videos of up to 5 minutes which can then be uploaded to your website or social media channels.
You can download Screencastify here.