For more Coronavirus Resources to Help you and Your Congregation Stay Connected When it’s Critical check out: The Church Leader’s Guide to Coronavirus: How to Continue Ministry During a Pandemic
With a temporary statewide ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, Churches in the Seattle area (and many around the nation) are having to pivot their strategy for reaching people from a focus on weekend services to creating a digital experience. Champions Centre, a multi-site church with campuses all around the state of Washington, is at the forefront of navigating these difficult times.
We wanted to take a few minutes to highlight some of the things Champions Centre is doing to support their congregation and community across five campuses and a digital campus in this trying time. Champions Centre has been investing in its digital strategy for years. So when they had to make the hard decision to temporarily cancel weekend services, fortunately, much of the infrastructure to move to “online only” was already in place. But whether you’re just getting started with the tools, need to set-up an online experience, or have been running a digital campus for years, there’s something to learn from how Champions Centre has successfully handled THIS SITUATION.
1. Clarity in communication.
First, it’s important that you clearly communicate and focus on what’s currently happening. Clear messaging on Champions Centre’s website, reinforced with Social posts, makes it easy to know what’s happening at the church, regardless of what platform one follows them on. It’s important to know that not every member of your church and community will follow you on every communication platform, so bring clarity by leveraging every channel, including your website, app, email list, and social media channels.
2. Faith Over Fear
These are trying times for everyone—whether they’ve been directly affected by COVID-19 or are just fearful about the potential of what could happen. People all around the country are faced with the fear that things could get a lot worse. Pastors have a tremendous opportunity to provide a message of hope during this like, just as Pastor Kevin Gerald did.
After clearly communicating their plan for how the church will operate during this time, Champions Centre launched this video—Faith over Fear. It’s a simple prayer, a message of hope for unknown times. Your church has a unique opportunity to be a voice of courage and hope in the midst of the news stories that are anything but.
Champions Centre then reinforced this message with a personal update from campus pastors. Note how in all of their communication, Champions Centre never belittles the potential risk or harm of what’s happening, but still remains hopeful and peaceful. That same message and tone is reflected in everything that they’re communicating with their people.
3. An Unorthodox Opportunity
Champions Centre hasn’t just found a way to cope with an unfortunate situation—they’ve recognized it as a unique outreach opportunity within their community. At a time when hope is on backorder, they’re bringing a message of peace and hope to their community..
They’ve found ways to keep their congregation involved as well—you can sign up to host a watch party, or find a watch party near you to join for a weekend service. Champions Centre has a host of resources available if you’d like to learn more about how they run watch parties.
You can also stream that service wherever it is most convenient for you, from their custom app to their YouTube and Facebook pages. They even provide the availability of church for kids, with lessons and downloadable activities for elementary and preschool children, so that everyone can stay connected.
There’s also an opportunity to serve and provide for people who desperately need ministry. You could start new prayer groups, special giving funds to support those in need, provide meals, or just have facetime conversations with people who are isolated.
In Champions Centre’s efforts to be the most responsive during this time of need in their community, they mobilized volunteers to pick up groceries for those who are unable–people who have been asked to quarantine, immunocompromised, and the elderly. They specified the geographies they’d cover and started organizing volunteers with a google form.
In trying times such as these, we’re grateful to partner with churches like Champions Centre to help give them the technology they need to build a digital presence their community can access from anywhere. You can follow along with Champions Centre at https://cc.church/ and on all social media platforms.
If you’re ready to discover how Pushpay can help build out your church’s digital strategy, schedule a time to talk to an expert today.