Encouraging Notes and Messages
Think of social media as a way of sending encouraging notes and messages. For example, inspirational Bible quotes, short video clips of people or Session members praying for the congregation, ideas for how to do faith formation at home or uplifting photos. Don’t forget to “share” social media posts from other churches or organizations that you think would be helpful to those following your church on social media.
Record or Live Stream Prayers, Sermons and Music
Just because congregations are not meeting in person, does not mean that they cannot still gather in a virtual way. You can either record ahead of time or live stream whole services or just parts of the service. Recording ahead of time gives ministry leaders the opportunity to re-record and edit for a more polished video. Live streaming allows for congregation members to interact in real time during the worship service. The comments section on Facebook Live and YouTube allows for people to add greetings, prayers and comments during the worship service. For more information on live streaming, please see the PCC guide.
Start an Online Discussion and Prayer Group
Choose a time once per week when members or your community will come together online to check in and pray. Ask different leaders from your congregation to facilitate the weekly discussion and prayer time. Consider using Zoom, Skype or another online meeting platform.
Zoom is an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat and webinars. It is free for users to attend meetings and installs quickly onto a computer, tablet or mobile device. The national office of The Presbyterian Church in Canada is helping support and equip congregations and presbyteries in the use of Zoom for online video meetings.
Have Virtual Coffee Time on Sundays
Use an online meeting platform to gather your church community together. Make coffee and tea in your homes and just spend time together chatting and enjoying a late-morning or afternoon fellowship time “together.”
Grow Your Church’s Social Network
This is a good time to intentionally grow your social network. Start “friending” and “following” businesses, non-profits and other places of worship in your community. Pay attention to what their words of wisdom and pressing needs are at the time. If possible, offer to partner on initiatives they are engaged in to support the community at this time.
Offer Prayers and Support to Neighbours
Don’t forget your neighbours in your social media messaging! Let those living in your neighbourhood and city know that your church is praying for them. If it is possible, offer to take prayer requests by email or social media. If you have people who are healthy and willing, put the offer out there that you will support vulnerable people with getting groceries or running essential errands. Many neighbourhoods and communities have Facebook groups, some of which are specifically dedicated to connecting neighbours during the pandemic. If you aren’t already part of one of these groups, join one and see if your church community can fulfil any of the needs expressed.