The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is bringing changes to our society in the United States, as well as the entire world. During this time, the government’s plan to limit the spread of the virus is impacting the corporate activities of many churches.
Virtually every American is impacted by the Coronavirus. Both the churched and unchurched alike have a need to be connected to society, but because of the need for social distancing, many find themselves disconnected from family, friends, and neighbors at a time when their need for community is great.
Small groups in the local church can play an active role in ministering to both the churched and unchurched. Below are some simple steps a church can take to engage its small groups to provide a spiritual connection that many people will need in the weeks ahead.
- Use existing social media or website platforms to offer online public worship services. Limitations on worship service attendance is still in flux, but it is best to expect that the opportunity to meet corporately for many churches will be limited.
- Small groups can meet online through free or inexpensive teleconferencing such as Zoom video. Video conferencing will generally work better for small groups because participants can interact directly through video and chat features. Video conferencing is excellent for conducting group Bible study because of the ability each person has to interact, read Scripture, pray, and share ministry.
- Use apps such as GroupMe to maintain contact with group members each day. Groups can use this app to share prayer needs, ministry opportunities, and stay connected throughout the day without the need for scheduled meetings.
For small group leaders
- Utilize online Bible studies that support LifeWay’s Explore the Bible and Bible Studies for Life curriculums. Zoom Video Conferencing can be used for group interaction or for small group leaders that want to lead Bible studies with their group.
- Establish a digital means to maintain contact with every person in your small group. Suggestions include both video conferencing like Zoom, and social media apps like GroupMe. If necessary, maintain contact through telephone and/or text. Your church leaders may have suggestions or preferences of which social media platforms they prefer you to use.
- Be proactive to inform your group of how you will stay in contact with them. Establish the digital process first, then inform group members of how they can stay spiritually connected with the group.
- Establish frequent contact with the group through the digital platform you have chosen. One contact a day should be a minimum.
- Encourage your group to look for opportunities to invite unchurched or unsaved people into the ministry of your small group community.
Some suggested links
- Zoom Video Conferencing – www.zoom.us
- GroupMe App – Available in app stores on iPhone and Android
- Video Bible Studies – www.oklahomabaptists.org/sunday-school or www.facebook.com/reconnectss
For small group members
- Maintain contact with your small group leader(s). If you are unable to leave your home and need ministry assistance, let your small group leader know. Your group leader cannot minister to needs of which he or she may be unaware.
- Follow the directions of your church leaders. Do NOT meet physically as a group if your church leadership has requested for its groups not to gather physically, at the church or at home.
- Pray! Pray to the Lord and ask that the impact of this virus be lessened. Pray for our senior citizens and those people most at risk to the virus. Pray for our nation’s leaders to unite and for them to be open to spiritual wisdom from the Lord.
- Look for opportunities to have Gospel conversations with whom you come in contact.