The past year and a half has brought many uncertainties. The Coronavirus pandemic not only changed many aspects of our personal and work lives but also the life of our churches. Many closed due to restrictions, many now offer hybrid experiences, and some still have closed doors waiting to see what’s to come. One of the big questions that church leaders, volunteers, and members have is, “How will the church change after Covid-19?”
While we can’t predict the future, we can talk about trends we’re seeing and hearing about from our ministry partners and ways you can prepare as a church leader for whatever the future holds. If you’re like most, you’ve noticed changes in these areas of your church:
Let’s talk about those areas of your ministry and how Realm can help you prepare for post-COVID.
Throughout the pandemic, your members searched for ways to continue worshipping even while unable to worship in person. Because of this, they now have new habits and expectations that include a hybrid of online and in-person experiences.
Of the 93% of churches offering virtual worship services, 64% of them added these offerings after the COVID-19 pandemic began. More than 70% of churches are now offering virtual activities, Bible groups, and prayer groups.*
One way you can up your virtual game is by using Realm Streaming. Not only does Realm Streaming give you a way to live stream your worship services, it also provides you with an online video library where you can post videos for your children and youth ministries, Bible study groups, and prayer groups.
Realm Streaming is completely customizable, allowing you to brand your video library to be consistent with your ministry. Your congregation gets an ad-free experience, and your church can move forward post-COVID knowing you’re able to continue worshipping together. Plus, you’ll be able to keep ministering to those online who discovered your church during the pandemic but aren’t local to visit in-person.
The pandemic caused a huge shift in the way we communicate. People being home more during restrictions and quarantines meant less in-person interactions and more virtual connections. If you’re like most other churches, you increased your communications, sending out more emails and messages to reach your members. Unfortunately, so did every other business. This means you have to wade through the noise of all the other communications they’re receiving right at their digital doorstep.
62% of church leaders are using email to communicate with their members.*
One way you can improve your email communications and better reach your members is through targeting. Instead of mass emails to your congregation that are extensively long due to including every announcement about every ministry, target specific groups within your church with only information they truly care about.
Realm now integrates with Constant Contact, allowing you to send a group of contacts from Realm directly to Constant Contact. You can then create a customized template specific for that group, and email them weekly or monthly updates that are only about their ministry. Once they see that your emails are specifically relatable to them without having to wade through more noise, they will look forward to your emails.
Another great way to reach your members and stand out from the outside noise is by taking advantage of the one thing most carry at all times — our mobile phones. With Realm Texting, you can empower your group leaders to continue communicating outside church walls with their groups throughout the week even when we are back in the pews on Sundays. Realm also includes interactive online groups so group members can stay in touch throughout the week.
If there’s one thing many church leaders learned through the pandemic, it’s this — you must offer ways for your congregation to give from outside the church pews.
78% of churches now offer eGiving options – with 42% of those churches adding eGiving after the COVID-19 pandemic began. 65% of virtual churchgoers say their giving has remained the same.While 12% of givers are donating even more than before.*
Your ministry runs because of faithful tithes and offerings, and now that many of your contributors are seeing the ease of using online, mobile, or text giving, they aren’t going to revert back to cash and check.
Realm Giving provides you with all the giving options your church needs: online, text, mobile app, cash, and check. You can customize giving and pledge forms to match your ministries, funds, and pledge campaigns, and your contributors can view their own giving and pledge history within Realm. Plus, Realm Giving is integrated with Realm Contributions and Realm Accounting, giving you everything you need to manage your church’s financial health.
Even though activities and worship services are starting to happen in person again, we can expect more in-person activities to kick off post-COVID. It would be naive to think that your members would want to move backwards in every area of your ministry.
While they are excited to join together in fellowship, they still want the option to worship online. Especially when away from the church for vacations, sickness, or other circumstances. Even though they will hear announcements and church news from the pulpit, they still want the ease of knowing they can read targeted information. Specifically for the ministries they care about directly in their email inbox. For those joining small groups and prayer groups in person again post-COVID, they’ve become accustomed to receiving updates throughout the week outside of those meetings and prefer to keep doing so. And of course, for those who’ve remained faithful in giving tithes and offerings to your ministries during the pandemic, chances are they aren’t picking up the checkbook again once they are back in your pews.
Post-COVID is exciting to think about for many reasons. For the life of the church, it’s a time where you can grow to not only reach those in your pews, but reach far beyond that by offering virtual connections as well as in-person experiences. Realm can help you do just that. Take a tour of Realm today to see how it can fit your ministry now and post-COVID.
*Statistics from Vanco’s Virtual Churchgoer Giving Study conducted in 2021. Vanco, our eGiving partner, is recognized as an industry leader in terms of price, performance, and security.
Leigh Ann Shelley joined the ACST team in 2019 as a Product Marketing Manager, overseeing the launch and overall communication of key solutions to support the church’s needs. Prior to joining ACST, she spent several years in communications and graphic design roles, most notably as a Communications Director for a large church in Florence, SC, where she leveraged Realm to help solve key ministry challenges.