On top of everything else your church is experiencing due to COVID-19, you may be feeling like the church or ministry you lead is drifting apart and the culture you have been building is slipping away.
These are real concerns when we’re not able to meet in person.
So, how can we shape culture in our churches during this season of only meeting online?
I have four strategies to share with you that we are currently pursuing in our church.
Focus on Core Values
When your church was able to meet in person, you likely had several active ministries within your church—kids, students, singles, small groups, outreach, etc.
Each of these ministries has its focus, and depending on your church, these different focuses were fairly unified or perhaps competing against each other.
This season provides a huge opportunity for focus and unity.
Because the ministry of your church is narrowed, you can focus.
Instead of offering five outreach opportunities in your community, this is the season to have one and to rally everyone around it.
This unwanted situation is forcing us to focus on a single message, which is instrumental in creating alignment and culture.
I would encourage you to focus your sermons on the core values and purposes of your church in this season.
It’s possible that you could come out of this quarantine with greater clarity around your culture as a congregation.
Simplify Social Media
Even if your church is smaller, you may have several different social media channels—your main church Facebook page, student ministry Instagram, kid’s ministry Facebook page, young adults Facebook group, etc.
Here’s the problem: noise.
Especially in this season, it’s easy to flood people with too much and competing messages.
And I don’t know about you, but I stop paying attention when I feel overwhelmed with information.
When you simplify your social media message, you have a good chance of getting all your people running in the same direction. This is a great way to shape culture.
Here’s what we’ve done in this season: We’ve asked each of our ministries to follow this two-fold message on social media:
- Stay engaged
- Everybody looking out for somebody
Nearly every post is devoted to these two ideas.
We’re asking people to stay engaged with God and each other, and we’re asking everyone to be serving someone in their life.
It’s simple, memorable, and doable.
If you’re having trouble with unity in this area, I suggest you start a weekly social media meeting with all of your key players—staff and volunteers.
In this meeting, set your strategy for the week and stick to it.
Also, it is helpful to create a schedule of your posts that encompasses all ministries.
Simplicity and clarity win on social media right now.
Because of our constrictions, we’re asking every ministry in our church to sync up around our weekend sermon series.
All small groups are focused on the series, and the entire church is engaging in a reading plan connected to the sermon.
One thing to be cautious of is each ministry will have a great idea and want to implement it.
While that is great, now our people are receiving multiple different messages, devotionals, instructions, etc.
This won’t create unity and culture within your church.
A more effective approach is to keep each ministry aligned and in sync.
Of course not every aspect of each ministry can be synced around the weekend sermon, especially when it comes to age-specific ministries.
However, there are always a few ways to sync up.
For example, our preaching series is on the book of Proverbs.
Although our kid’s ministry will continue to deliver age-appropriate curriculum to our families, our kids will participate with the rest of our congregation in reading through the book of Proverbs together and sharing one proverb per day that impacted them.
Sync up what you can and it will help shape your culture.
One of the most effective ways to shape culture right now is through personal connection.
This season is a huge opportunity to connect personally with attendees and volunteers while sharing with them our vision for our church.
Many of us now have the time to call, FaceTime, Zoom, etc. our people and connect with them.
This is our opportunity to ask, “Can I share with you my hopes for our ministry?
This is what I want us to be about.”
I know this season is incredibly challenging and disappointing in many ways, but it’s also a huge opportunity to shape the culture of our churches.
I challenge you to step into this opportunity.
It’s possible that we could come through this season more unified and effective than before.
We’d love for you to share in the comments below how you're working on creating culture within your church during this season.