Maintaining enthusiasm among church members is challenging when staff are struggling to determine how to minister while abiding by state health regulations. Although some churches have been meeting in person, others are still only meeting online. As more churches begin opening up for in-person gatherings, here are some ways to utilize small events to bring people together:
New Members Class: The event of online church during the pandemic has drawn new church attenders to congregations all across America. Once church buildings opened for in-person services, some of those new people transitioned their church attendance as well, and many will want to join the church officially as members. Now is a good time to hold New Members’ Classes. Keep the maximum number of attendees set per class reasonable so they can socially distance (this may require holding several small classes to accommodate everyone). You may want to forego the usual buffet of breakfast treats and keep the time to an hour in length. Allow lots of questions and introduce the participants to staff members. Make sure they feel welcome and plug them into ministries.
Online Bible Studies: There is a huge need for personal connection. For Bible studies that cannot start meeting in person yet, encourage group leaders to host Bible Studies through online video conferencing methods. Keep studies short to just six or seven weeks to keep people’s interest. Leaders will have to work hard to encourage interaction as an online platform is challenging and less personal than being face-to-face. Plan ice-breaking activities and as much personal interaction time as possible.
Marriage seminar: Winter is generally a good time for Marriage Retreats. However, this year, retreats may not be possible due to the pandemic. Rather than cancelling the event completely, offer a 2-hour marriage seminar instead. Bring husbands and wives together to have a couple of hours of intentional time together to strengthen their relationship. Even though the time is shorter, couples can still make some positive progress talking about their marriage and building goals for a meaningful future.
Youth Game Day: Our young people are craving normalcy. They want to spend time with one another. They have grown weary of quarantines and distance learning and all that came as a result of COVID-19. They need some relief and a healthy way to blow off some steam. Youth groups are meeting together online and some have in-person opportunities as well. Why not plan a day filled with games that they can come and enjoy? Encourage them to bring their friends from school and spend some time outside enjoying sports and games.
Plan for a scaled-back Easter: Rather than cancelling everything as we did in 2020, it may be time for a scaled back Easter event. It appears churches will be able to have in-person services in most states, but with limited capacity. Easter Egg Hunts and other children’s events may also require smaller gatherings. Community outreach events may need a narrowed focus in some areas. Whatever we’re able to do, let’s put prayerful thought into each and every aspect, knowing that God will reach people and we are simply His messengers.
As we look toward a new ministry year, the usual big events may not be an option, but church staff members can turn to small events to keep enthusiasm high among church members.