Pivot the Way You Connect With Your People

Prior to COVID-19, we could connect with those in our congregation and communities almost whenever we wanted. We could have lunch with them, meet at local sports games and of course see them before or after the worship experience. However, now those options really do seem to be things of the past. I am sure […]

Prior to COVID-19, we could connect with those in our congregation and communities almost whenever we wanted. We could have lunch with them, meet at local sports games and of course see them before or after the worship experience. However, now those options really do seem to be things of the past. I am sure though that we would all agree that connection in life and in church are of the upmost importance. But how do you pivot?

Pivot Toward Video

Before COVID-19 our church had already started to use Zoom for our weekly staff calls and a few other team leader meetings. We knew the potential, but we also knew that meeting face to face was what we preferred.

COVID-19 didn’t give us a chance to make a decision, it was made for us. If we wanted to connect with our people and with our leaders, videoconferencing was the only way. We made the pivot to Zoom for almost every ministry area, such as these:

– New Members Class
– Team Meetings
– Quick Check-Ins
– Game Nights
– Leadership Trainings

The main goal was to continue connecting with the members of the church and in some ways even enhance what we provide. Online New Members Class was already in place for those outside of the state, but now it’s available for everyone. Our ministry teams (Men, Women, Marriage, Students, etc.) all have Zoom account access for them to “check in” with those in their ministries and also hold short Bible studies and even fun events.

Recently, our women set up a paint night and a hair night through Zoom. Our teens have Bible study and also a game night once a week, our nursery students have Bible lessons and age-appropriate yoga once a month. The list goes on and on, the point is to allow some kind of video technology to help you engage and connect with your people during this season.

From Outreach Magazine  Does My Church Need 501(c)(3) Status?

Finally, we have also held church-wide business meetings that have gone really well, allowing our leaders to see each other and their pastor beyond the Sunday morning experience.

I need to also state the fact that video fatigue is a real issue and we need to be mindful of it. Our people aren’t just on video for the church, they’re also on video other times during the week, if not every day of the week. As a result, we need to be mindful of how many of these meetings we have on video and find other ways to engage like Facebook groups or something else.

Pivot Your Expectation of Who

I believe one of the less spoken about blessings of this current season is the opportunity that we have to connect with more people. Several churches need to pivot their expectation of who they’re reaching through ministry now. Far too many churches still have in focus only their current pool of members, when God has moved us all into an ocean of opportunity.

When you pivot your expectation on who you’re impacting, you will then create ministry experiences that reach more than those in your congregation. If you reach more than your congregation and those who know you, then you have the opportunity to grow like many of us haven’t dreamed of before. Now that our church is online, we are engaging with more people than we could ever see in our physical buildings.

Pivot Your Thoughts on Size

“The most important thing is effectively developing and training students to learn and then live their Christian faith in a REAL way. If we get caught up in the numbers of youth ministry we miss out on the ‘ministry’ of youth ministry, which consists of meeting the needs of those that make up the numbers”* —Russell St. Bernard

This quote is from a youth ministry book I wrote a few years back. In this point I am simply explaining that size should be the focus. If youth ministries and ministry in general is going to grow, we need to focus on developing and training in smaller groups. When I wrote the above passage, I had no idea about COVID-19, but this pivot makes more sense now than ever before. As a result of the current season we’re in you can’t make or connect in large groups, however you can still meet and connect in smaller ones.

From Outreach Magazine  Build 5 'Fences' to Protect Yourself From Sexual Sin

What if you made the pivot on how large your worship experience had to be in order to be effective? What if you personally didn’t have to lead each experience, but instead you trained leaders to do their role in smaller groups? How many more people could you reach if you made that pivot? What would have to look different, and what would have to be created?

At the end of the day, this season of ministry is calling for us all to pivot on how we work to connect with our congregations but also with those who need the grace-filled, life-changing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s not miss the opportunity to pivot how we connect with our people but more importantly how we help them to connect with Jesus. What other ways of connecting have you or your church established during this season? What would you add?

Read more from Russell St. Bernard »

* St. Bernard, Russell. Youth Ministry Hindsight: 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started (Kindle Locations 85–87). After The Music Stops, LLC. Kindle Edition