Ways to Support Church Families without Using Zoom

Many areas around the United States are cautiously reopening following months of city- and state-mandated quarantines during the coronavirus outbreak. Congregations, their pastors, and church workers are struggling to find the right balance between enthusiastically welcoming people back to in-person worship and education programs, providing programs that adhere to local health requirements and ordinances, and offering ongoing support for individuals and families who simply can’t return in-person just yet. It’s a tough balancing act, and much patience and grace are needed as we figure out what things like Sunday School and confirmation and youth group continue to look like during a pandemic.

Maybe your congregation is starting to worship in-person again but is still running a limited number of in-person programs for children, youth, and families due to facility size and the necessary space for social distancing. How can you continue to help individuals grow in faith as disciples of Jesus? How can you help parents share the Christian faith with their children at home?

No More Zoom!

Your people might be feeling all Zoomed out from so much time spent on video calls during their work-from-home hours. How can you create a sense of community without necessarily relying on that particular technology for group meetings and check-ins? Think social! Do you have a good number of people who are active on Facebook? Make a private Facebook group to allow for sharing photos and videos, daily prayers or Scripture verses, and bits of encouragement among church members. Recruit a couple of spiritually mature, social media savvy church members to be intentional about posting and checking in daily with the group. Ask for prayer requests. Host a Facebook Live Bible storytime for families with young children. Post a weekly sermon Q&A with the pastor by providing a link to Scripture and inviting questions. Don’t just use your congregation’s social media accounts as a bulletin board for announcements; rather, use them to be social—engage people in conversation and draw them into a community where they can encounter Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

Snail Mail Surprise

My young children (ages 8 and below) love getting mail. They watch for the mail person each day, waving eagerly if they see something of interest get dropped in our mailbox. Maybe your kids or the kids at your church are the same way. Consider sending a weekly postcard via USPS to your Sunday School and youth group families. Include a Scripture verse and a single-sentence prayer for parents to pray with their kids each day. You might even offer a small prize for students who can memorize the verse and recite it to you at worship by the following Sunday!

Two-Minute Talk

Email a two-minute video to parents each Sunday evening, encouraging them to remember that Christ is with them, and to put Him first each day of the upcoming week. Don’t make it any longer than two minutes—that’s about 250–300 words! Don’t worry about slick editing or fancy transitions, just speak the Gospel to them, and give them some encouragement. Let them know you’re praying for them and that you’re available as a resource if they have any questions or concerns when it comes to sharing the faith with their kids.

After so many weeks and months of separation, people are craving community and connection. A personal note, a quick message to let others know they are remembered, an invitation to join the conversation online with others who are in a similar situation—these are simple ways to connect with our church families and encourage them to reach out and connect with others. I hope these ideas help spark your own creativity as you continue to reach out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to families in your congregation and community.

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Written by

Caitlin Dinger

Caitlin is a director of Christian education with twenty years of experience in congregational and outdoor ministries. She is wife to a pastor and mom to three little boys. Caitlin enjoys gardening, home preserving, Jane Austen, and photography. Her life is powered by a lot of forgiveness and a lot of coffee.

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