COVID-19 has impacted every area of our lives. We are in uncharted territory. None of our church leaders have navigated a pandemic before. Most of us feel like we’re still trying to find our footing during this strange new season.
Suddenly we’ve gone from meeting together weekly to either holding online services or just not being able to meet together at all. This has left many in our congregations feeling disconnected and alone. If our members are feeling this way, then that means most people are struggling with isolation and often anxiety.
Many are facing some kind of hardship due to COVID-19, whether circumstantial, relational or financial. Companies are being forced to cut back the hours their employees work or even laying off long-time employees. Our communities need to feel some hope and help. As Christ-followers we are equipped and called to do just that.
While we can’t solve this global health issue we can make a difference in our communities and in the lives of the people around us.
7 Ways To Serve Your Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic
1. Check on your neighbors
If each of us and each person in your congregation took the time to check on four people in your neighborhood, we can stay connected and make sure people get what they need. Call someone, message them or knock on their door and make sure they’re okay.
2. Check on the elderly and those that you know have medically-fragile loved ones
We have all heard that this virus impacts these individuals more severely. Many families with loved ones in these categories are doing their best to keep their loved ones safe from this virus while still doing tasks like going to the grocery store and pharmacy. Contact them and find out if you can pick up some necessities for them or bring them something they might need. You could lift a huge weight off their shoulders even if for just a few days.
3. Buy from local businesses
Many businesses are financially feeling the sting of the limitation of no longer being able to offer a dine-in experience. Many have laid-off workers or cut their hours dramatically. They need our support right now financially and otherwise. Order takeout or buy a gift card for someone else. Do you have birthdays coming up, Easter basket gifts? Find ways to support your local businesses.
4. Have a call-line available for people to call when they have a need
Have a phone number folks can call that might need assistance with anything from navigating getting tested to picking up groceries or paying an electricity bill. This can be a huge lifeline for people.
5. Partner with local organizations that are providing childcare for parents that have to work but have no childcare because schools are out
So many parents find themselves in this incredibly difficult situation of needing childcare and needing to work. What a privilege to come alongside these parents by providing financial assistance through scholarships, or snacks and supplies for an organization that is helping care for the children in your community.
6. Provide online opportunities for young people to connect and communicate
Young people are missing connections during this time of quarantine. They are missing face to face time with friends. Although they have access to facetime and other forms of online communication, by creating intentional opportunities for this you can create dialogue and meaningful interactions that might not happen organically. They have lots of questions and big emotions that they need help with navigating. Have an online get-together at the same time you usually have youth group or small group. Post an Instagram story asking questions to get feedback from your youth.
7. Recognize that it’s hard
Most of us are struggling with fear and uncertainty all around us right now. There are so many unknowns to deal with and it produces lots of anxiety. Be the people that remind them of the peace He offers. This may look like a sermon or blog post in which you acknowledge these feelings and this new reality. During your private conversations and interactions allow people to express these hard feelings. We all need a safe place to say out loud, “This is really hard.”
There is good news! We have the hope in our Savior that the world needs right now. We may live in uncertain times, but we have a Father God that is good and Sovereign. None of this is taking Him by surprise and He has the security and help we need. A relationship with Him is exactly what will bring the peace and comfort that we all seek right now.
What a gift to be able to serve our community in these small ways that may give us the opportunity now or down the road to share this incredible hope. While this strange season we are in is most certainly uncertain, it is a tremendous opportunity to love big!
What can you do this week to serve your community during this time?