By Josh King
I can’t be the only one who feels like I’m communicating with our church more, not less, during this season of social distancing.
Before coronavirus, the primary methods of disseminating information were the weekly worship gathering and a monthly newsletter we’ve been (snail) mailing.
Today, our communication and messaging includes regular updates, weekly Wednesday live videos, Sunday sermon videos, personal phone calls, and social media posts.
All of this is an attempt to make sure everyone is getting the information they need to stay connected to the faith family. But I wonder if we’re communicating all we need to get across.
Among the updates, virtual gatherings, and scheduling announcements, here are a few things your church needs to hear from leaders between Sundays.
1. “This is why we still have hope.”
This is the one thing no other outlet is pushing. It’s also the one thing we the church can offer.
Hope is a calm confidence that the God who has always been faithful in the past will be faithful in the future.
Hope doesn’t pretend there’s no problem or that everything will go back to the way it was before.
Hope does, however, convey a trust in King Jesus that’s much stronger than any fear can shake.
2. “Here are some things we should celebrate.”
If you’re like me, and several of you are, this season has felt like we’re spinning our wheels.
There’s very little to see. Before we all went inside we could see the group gather and grow. We could meet new people each week and see how many came back the next week.
We had new signage and small changes around the campus. There was always a feeling of movement.
Some of that is lost. So you have to make sure you’re letting everyone know the church is still moving and is still on mission. Look for a new style of wins.
Celebrate successes, even small ones. Highlight efforts like raising money for the homeless ministry or post a picture of a map depicting where people are watching your service from.
If you’re just posting a service every week, the expectation to simply watch feels like a duty or a chore. Show up and say how the church is collectively participating in kingdom progress while apart.
3. “I don’t have all the answers.”
Anyone who says they know what’s coming next is guessing or lying. This is new territory.
Sure, our country and this world have dealt with things like the Spanish Flu and the Bubonic Plague, but this is happening in a world hyper-focused on social media with the undeniable influence of politics and worldviews.
This is different, and it’s acceptable to let your church know you don’t have all the answers and that you’re doing your best.
In fact, it helps to convey you’re not an expert. Be humble enough to ask for opinions from your leadership and congregation.
Remember, they too, are educated and experienced adults with information and perspectives. Don’t lead alone; lean into your church, and they will lean back.
Humility is a beautiful thing, and right now you have a great opportunity to model it.
4. “I struggle, too.”
Even though we want to say hopeful things and celebrate the wins, we can’t ignore that what has happened to our country has been traumatic.
With little warning, children weren’t allowed to go back to school. Working parents took on the added load of homeschooling, and nearly every church leader became a student of digital media.
People who were accustomed to getting long, daily breaks from one another are now together 24 hours a day, every day.
That’s been hard on people in a real and deep way. You should communicate it’s OK to not be OK.
Let them know you’re struggling at times and that you’re aware this is a difficult season and you’re here to walk through it with them. This encourages the healing we need to begin.
There’s a lot of talking going on over the air waves and through the internet. Let’s speak above the noise as we say what we need to say, while also telling our people what they need to hear.
JOSH KING (@JoWiKi) is the pastor of Second Baptist Church in Conway, Arkansas, husband of Jacki, and father of three boys. He’s also a co-host of the EST.church podcast.