By Katie Albrecht
It’s no secret that in order to have a thriving church, leaders need a strong community within their walls. In fact, when disruption occurs, many worshippers rely on the community around them for support.
To maintain this foundation in the church, here are some ways to build and foster your community before, during and after disruptive times.
#1: Host a potluck
As a church leader, creating a community within your congregation relies predominantly on your shoulders. Even though relationships and friendships can occur naturally, the leader sets the tone of how they want their parish to act.
For instance, if the goal is to have a tight-knit relationship with your members, try inviting a few of them to your home for a meal or two. Some pastors will host potlucks with a few members to get to know them informally and strengthen their bond.
This technique could also be used in times of natural disaster when morale is low. During a pandemic, however, you can invite a smaller group that sits outside where everyone brings their own food.
Regardless of how it looks, hosting a meal for those going through a tough time will show how you care and will typically generate gratitude and loyalty towards you and the church in the future.
#2: Encourage Bible study groups
Any sort of meaningful relationship requires more than the typical small talk that occurs at a Sunday Service. For your church to sustain its community, your members will need to cultivate relationships with one another in small groups.
Bible studies are an excellent reason for groups to get together and as a bonus, they can be done virtually during a pandemic. Typically this is a great way for church leaders to introduce members to one another while simultaneously learning about the Holy Savior. Additionally, reading more Bible passages also helps give people comfort in disruptive situations.
To safely allow churchgoers into the building, use room dividers to create smaller rooms within the space. Air purifiers can also help dilute germs from circulating for a safer in-person experience. These tools together limit the gathering size and prevent contagion from spreading.
#3: Singles / other groups
We all need to socialize and connect with others in addition to discussing and learning from the Bible. For this reason, putting together singles groups can help peers build friendships on an entirely social level.
As the pastor, you can appoint coordinators to host or schedule these events. If you have younger generations in your church, some singles group leaders throw dance parties or movie nights at their home. With modern streaming capabilities, we can even gather virtually without spreading germs and viruses.
If the goal is to raise funds, however, some churches have even put on virtual talent shows or other social events and asked for small donations from viewers. When you work hard to foster a fun and engaging community, the community will work hard to support your church’s goals in return.
#4: Drive-up services
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person Sunday services have temporarily paused in some locations. While virtual services are a short-term alternative, the goal remains to worship with others physically around us. For this reason, many church leaders have been putting on drive-in style services in the past year where the weather permits.
Similar to the drive-in movie theater, this type of service allows churchgoers the accessibility of worshipping while remaining safe in their own vehicles. This technique also can help foster the church’s community by letting members have socially distanced face time with one another. Your members will appreciate the effort to have an in-person service and the ability to communicate with their church community.
Life is filled with challenges and disruption every day. By cultivating a strong and healthy community, your church can prepare for these tough situations and thrive on the other side of them.
Katie Albrecht is the Content Marketing Coordinator for Screenflex Portable Room Dividers, the #1 manufacturer of freestanding, portable partitions.
For a little over a year, Katie has been creating and overseeing all of the content for the Screenflex website and social media profiles.
Outside of her time at Screenflex, Katie is an accomplished author and podcaster on topics of mental health.