12 Nov 6 Church Communication Tips During COVID-19
Just because churches may be held virtually or in a limited capacity doesn’t mean communication with their congregation needs to be slowed down. There are plenty of apps and platforms that churches can use to stay connected with their congregation during COVID-19 and long after it has passed.
The Importance of Staying Connected With Your Church Members
A key reason why people attend church is for the community aspect that comes with it. The sense of community and togetherness that churches create allows neighbors, friends, and family to come together. For this reason, it’s vital that churches continue to carry out that sense of community by staying connected—even if the traditional Sunday service looks a bit different this year.
It’s also essential that churches stay connected during these days because, quite frankly, we’re living in stressful times. According to this research paper from the American Psychological Association, high stress related to the coronavirus—particularly for parents—is the new normal. It can also be lonely right now, with social distancing still being encouraged. Whether you have church members, who are stressed out or feeling alone right now, giving them opportunities to stay connected with their fellow church members can certainly help them out.
With that, here are six ways you can keep your church community connected during COVID.
Be Active on Social Media
While social media sometimes has the perception of being a “young person’s” game, this isn’t necessarily true. Sure, teens and young adults are more likely to be on social media than their parents. But, according to Pew Research, today, nearly 70% of 50-64-year-olds are on at least one social media site. Even 40% of 65+ are active on at least one social platform too.
Here are some different types of posts to regularly put out on your social platforms:
Highlight a Member of Your Congregation – Everyone likes to have the spotlight shown on them every now and then. By highlighting a dedicated member of your congregation that has put in the effort to make the community better, you can help them get the recognition they deserve. You could also share some information about new members as well so that the community can get to know them better even if church services are being held virtually for the time being. You can send them some questions to fill out, such as where they moved from if they are new residents or their favorite Bible verse.
Highlight an Employee at the Church – There are a lot of important folks that make up your church and help make it successful. Posting fun facts about church employees not only equates to engaging content, but it gives church members the opportunity to learn more about the people who make your church possible—from the piano player to the greeters and everyone in between.
Share Fundraising and Volunteer Opportunities – Another solid way to utilize your social platforms is by promoting fundraising or volunteering opportunities. Whether it’s a fundraiser for your church or a local charity you’re partnering with, promoting donation opportunities on social media is a fantastic tactic for gaining traction. In addition, you can also post about any volunteering opportunities. While there may not be as many volunteer opportunities out there during COVID, some organizations are allowing volunteers with extra safety measures in place.
Utilize Facebook Live and Other Live Streaming Apps
Facebook Live is an easy platform to utilize that will allow you to broadcast church services remotely, as well as hold prayer groups, Wednesday/Sunday church school classes, and more. Many churches were already utilizing Facebook Live or similar streaming applications prior to COVID-19, as it allows them to broadcast church services for those that are unable to make it to the church in person, such as the elderly or disabled.
Make sure that if you do use a live streaming app that you include someone on your staff who has video production experience or hire someone who can fulfill that need. There is a lot that goes into a successfully streamed church service. For example, the lighting needs to be bright enough for people to see, but not overly saturated. In addition, the microphone needs to be crisp and clear so that watchers can easily understand what is being said.
For a few more tips on how to correctly utilize Facebook Live, check out this helpful article titled, “13 tips for improving your Facebook Live broadcasts”.
Remember, never be afraid to integrate more technology into your church!
Partner With mobileAxept
When it comes to helping innovate and truly connect with their congregation, churches turn to mobileAxept. We offer three distinct solutions, each of which works towards building up your community, whether you’re together or apart. These solutions are:
ReachNow – Our simple solution for connecting with your congregation members through the always reliable text message. Text alerts are one of the best ways to reach U.S. adults, as 81% of them own a smartphone, with a 98% open rate for text messages. With ReachNow, you can draft, schedule, and send anything and everything to your congregation members to keep them up-to-date. This includes: daily or weekly devotional messages, updates, virtual services, mission trip updates, calls for volunteers, donation requisitions, reminders, prayer requests, and much more!
GiveNow – As the pioneers of text giving, our text-to-give solution is one of the best on the market today. Easy-to-use for both members of your congregation and church management, GiveNow offers the most intuitive donor experience. Through a simple text, your congregation can do everything from registration to setting up recurring payments and editing their settings. Being stuck at home can make it difficult for your church members to tithe. But, with GiveNow, you can make it easy for them. GiveNow also possesses the Payment Card Industry’s highest safety level (PCI Level 1 Complaint).
ConnectNow – Paper visitor cards simply don’t cut it anymore. Not only do they present the opportunity for illegible handwriting, but they are useless for virtual church services. That’s where ConnectNow from mobileAxept comes into play. By simply texting a keyword that is created specifically for your church, future congregation members will be sent a link to where they can sign up. It’s that easy!
Our solutions are specifically designed to help your church embrace technology and help your community stay connected. To get started on integrating mobileAxept into your church, reach out to us today!
Send Out Weekly Emails
While emails aren’t as successful with open rates when compared to text message counterparts, they are still a viable way to connect with your congregation. Whereas text messages should be used for shorter, more succinct messages, email newsletters can contain an array of information, as well as images. Plus, with solutions like ReachNow, you can send text messages letting your congregation know a new email newsletter has arrived.
Using tools like MailChimp, you can easily send out emails. Or, if you want to keep things simple and go the free route, you can simply use your church’s email account. So, when should you be sending out your emails? Well, according to this article from WordStream, mid-week, mid-day is the best time, as it corresponds with open rate. A MailChimp study they reference suggests that subscribers of emails are more likely to open an email after 12pm, with 2-5pm being their most active time.
Not sure where to start with your church’s email campaign? This article, courtesy of Venngage (67 Engaging Email Newsletter Templates nad Design Tips), has everything you need to know to create a successful email newsletter.
Create a Central Platform For Members to Communicate
While we mentioned earlier that using social media is a smart tactic in these times, it should be noted that it is a two-way street. Not only should you be posting and communicating with your congregation, but you should also give your church members the ability to post as well. This can be as simple as creating a group on Facebook, or you can create a custom forum platform. The latter of these options may require more work up front, but for larger churches, it may be the right choice.
The benefits of including an online forum range far and wide, including:
- Allowing new visitors to find you through search engines.
- Providing a way for visitors to develop relationships even when they can’t meet in person.
- Providing a means for members to share information with each other.
- Keeping visitors coming back for the wealth of information and sense of community.
Create an Old School Pen Pal Program
Sending emails is nice, but actually writing out a letter is even more special. Creating an old school pen pal program is a fantastic way to keep your community connected while being apart during these times.
There are many different paths you could take your pen pal program down. For example, you could have the younger members of your congregation write to the seniors in your community, wishing them well during these times. Or, you could have people who sign up to be part of the program write an letter to a different person each week. But, each recipient won’t know who is writing to them, so it’ll be a surprise!
Not only is writing letters a cool and novel means of staying connected, but there are also psychological benefits of doing so. It’s great to receive these letters, but writing them can help you feel happier, according to Steve Toepher from Kent State University, who studies “author benefits,” or the perks you get from penning letters. According to Toepher, when writing letters, “… you’ll feel happier, you’ll feel more satisfied, and if you’re suffering from depressive symptoms, your symptoms will decrease.”
This example goes to show that while having a technology-forward church is encouraged, that doesn’t mean you can’t go old school every now and then with some of your communication strategies.
Hopefully, this new normal will come to pass in the not too distant future. But until then, we need to adapt to ensure that we keep our church engagement up. Remember, now more than ever, it’s important that we all stay connected. By following some of the ideas we’ve listed, you can make it easier to communicate with your congregation, as well as allow them to connect with one another.
For more tips on how to increase donations within your church, stay connected with members, and improve your church management, make sure to read the rest of our blog!
Some recent blogs that may be of interest:
- Preparing For Fall Church During COVID-19: Using ConnectNow to Keep Connected During COVID
- 5 Impressive Statistics on Mobile Giving And Text-To-Donate Platforms
- 5 Church Texting Services to Connect, Engage, and Activate Your Congregation
- Church Communication: Increase You Church’s Engagement With Text Notifications
- How Text to Donate Increases Fundraising For Your Church + Other Tips For Tithing