The Season of Adaptation; Things to Consider When Reopening Your Church

We've entered a new season of ministry. Many churches around the world have come up with creative ways to stay connected like drive-in services, virtual post-church coffee hours, and even some unconventional baptisms. If your church is at the point of reinstating in-person services, it's time to get creative once again.

Church services in the coming weeks may look very different than the last time we gathered back in March, and it may be helpful to think of this as launching a new church rather than trying to return to how things used to be. By approaching your reopening in this way, you’ll be better equipped to identify the ways that your volunteer program needs to adapt to succeed.

As your church prepares to reopen after COVID, here are four considerations about organizing your services and volunteers:

Identify Which Ministries Will be Essential in Reopening
Your church may be holding multiple services to facilitate social distancing. Start by evaluating which ministries will be needed and safe to reimplement in the initial phase of reopening, including what needs to be changed about their normal processes. For example, you may need additional Greeters to open doors, manage people flow, or check-in parishioners that have RSVP’d for a service. There may also be new opportunities for volunteers within brand new ministries, such as a Live Stream team. For ministries that won't be part of the initial reopening, remind your volunteers that their time is coming! Keep them engaged by encouraging participation in roles that have a newly increased need.

Determine What Volunteers are Interested in or How They Are Able to Serve
Your changes to ministry requirements will probably affect who can or cannot participate. Some volunteers may not feel comfortable returning to church immediately, or will have new preferences about where or when they serve. In contrast, some volunteers may be eager to serve in every way they can, now that services have begun again! Give all of your volunteers an equal chance to participate by communicating the new ministry needs via email or text, and be clear that these needs will fluctuate as guidelines change. Ask volunteers for preferences like how often they're comfortable serving, which services they prefer to attend, and any dates they are unavailable.

Equip Volunteers in Their New or Adjusted Roles
With so many potential changes, you can help your volunteers excel in their new or modified position by approaching volunteer training as a blank slate. Assume that all volunteers will need help understanding the tasks and responsibilities of their positions, especially in positions that may have new hygienic requirements, such as maintaining social distancing or disinfecting surfaces. This new approach to training could provide additional opportunities for volunteers, by asking some of your most engaged volunteers to assist in compiling training requirements. Evaluate each responsibility of the ministry and ask, "how could this be done differently to achieve the level of safety our guidelines recommend?" Consider filming a walkthrough video for each role to share with your volunteers so that expectations are clear.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Clear and consistent communication will equip your volunteers with the essential details they need to help your services run smoothly. What questions will your volunteers have about returning to church? Will social distancing extend to the parking lot? Will attendees expect someone at the entrances to direct people where to go? Will temperature checks be required? By communicating these expectations ahead of time, you’ll empower your volunteers to answer questions and direct the flow of your services more smoothly.

The doors of your buildings may have closed, but the spirit of your community never wavered. Ministry Scheduler Pro can save you time and frustration with scheduling during this unprecedented time, strengthen your communication with your volunteers, and grow participation within your ministries. To learn how MSP can help with your specific needs, contact us today!

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