With church being totally online and no one attending in our buildings, one of the biggest gaps we have noticed is getting volunteers involved who would have regularly served during our weekly services. Parking lot and coffee bar attendants don’t exactly translate to online church, but we have found some creative ways to keep our people involved with the mission of the church.
Here are three ways we have found to get our people serving during this season.
No. 1 Care Calls
With everyone at home, we wanted to find a way to remain connected to our congregants and ensure they are faring well through this season. Of course, social media and emails are a great way to keep people informed, but we wanted to make interactions more personal. We began an initiative that we dubbed “CareNet,” a program created to match willing volunteers to people who need a connection.
The structure for CareNet is based on Exodus 18:24-26:
“Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.”
We encouraged our church members to care for the “tens” by signing up to call 5-10 people each week. Our Connect Group leaders are assigned to the “fifties,” ensuring their group members are attended to each week, and our Campus Pastors are responsible for the “hundreds,” managing their campuses and working with any needs that arise.
Each member of CareNet follows a guideline we provide so that communication remains professional and consistent and they each fill out a report as to who they contacted each week. This allows us to measure our follow up numbers and ensure we are reaching the maximum number of people we can each week.
This program has been successful so far and has been a great way to both keep people involved and make sure no one falls through the cracks.
No. 2 Community Outreach
Prior to this pandemic, our church had a thriving community outreach centre that served our city through food hampers, clothing donations, baby boxes, and other initiatives throughout the year. When COVID-19 hit our area, they jumped into action, partnering with other local agencies to bring food deliveries to the most vulnerable and offer other necessities to people in need.
This has been a huge opportunity for our church members to get involved. Those that are healthy and able have had the opportunity to volunteer throughout the week and bring hope to the people in our community. It’s provided a tangible opportunity for people to serve outside of online experiences.
If the restrictions within your community allow, engage your volunteers by partnering with your local agencies to provide necessities to those who are in need. It has proven to be such a unifying force within our church.
No. 3 Online Opportunities
While solely being online can seem to be restricting, it has opened up a world of opportunities for us to get people involved and has expanded our reach in many ways. Here are some ways we have engaged volunteers online:
- Facebook Live Worship
Across our five campuses, we have a host of talented worship leaders but we weren’t able to have them all involved with our service recordings due to travel and social distancing limitations. Instead, we have one team go live on Facebook on a given weeknight. This allows them to still be able to lead worship and gives our church members an opportunity to worship together during the week.
- Online “Greeters”
I love our host teams and the welcoming atmosphere they create during our weekend services. We wanted to find a way to translate their abilities to our online experiences so we began encouraging them to “host” in the chat. They show up right on time and message people as they tune into the stream. They are also available to answer any questions and boost the mood within the chat.
- Connect Group Leaders
We have taken this time as an opportunity to push our Connect Groups as this season has proven more important than ever to be in community. Our groups meet online via Zoom and are facilitated by a leader. This has really allowed our church to stay connected.
Have you found some ways to involve your volunteers right now? We would love to hear your ideas! Comment below or find us on social media.