In the midst of a pandemic, church leaders are preparing for upcoming holidays with endless question marks. If you’re one of these scrambling teams, here are 10 COVID-safe ways to prepare your church for the holiday season.
Does your church partake in holiday acts of service? Turn your community outreach into mobile missionaries.
Arrange for a drive-up pick-up event for families in need to safely distribute pre-packaged meals. Take it one step further by asking volunteers to pick up meals and deliver them.
Fellowship of Faith
One of the key elements of a Christian walk is fellowship. If your church doesn’t already offer community groups, establish virtual groups to meet on a weekly basis.
Each group can form a safe outreach program to participate in together. The holidays are an opportunity for people to become the hands and feet of Jesus.
Include your congregation in holiday messages. Ask families to submit photos and videos of them celebrating the holidays and lighting candles and Christmas lights in COVID-creative ways.
Share them in your online streams and throughout social media to keep engagement amongst current and potential members. What people need most during these isolating times is to feel connected to others.
Make sure you include your children’s ministry when planning holiday activities. In most churches, the number of children is equal if not surpassing the number of adults in the congregation.
Create fun boxes with crafts like a DIY Advent candle wreath kit that families can pick up at a socially distanced event in your parking lot. Show off your Advent wreath to members of your congregation during the Advent season. Organize fun opportunities for families that keep them connected to Jesus amidst the worldly distractions of the holiday season.
If your climate allows, offer drive-in services. Set up an outdoor screen and a radio FM station that’s connected to your audio. Families can gather safely in their individual cars while feeling a sense of community.
The simple act of being at church, even if just in the outdoor lot, can be a major morale boost. For added effect, string LED Christmas lights throughout the lot to create an atmosphere of seasonal joy.
If your church will be meeting for in-person services throughout the holidays, be sure you’re following local protocols. Offer more service times throughout the week that requires an RSVP.
Have pastors share the responsibility of preaching so their family time isn’t diminished. Be sure to have plenty of sanitizing stations, enforce PPE protocols, and check temperatures at the front door.
Keep it in the Family
While it’s difficult to make the tough calls, it’s probably best to shut down your children’s ministry for the holidays. Have you ever had to tell a toddler to socially distance? It doesn’t really work.
Encourage families to include their children in their headcount when registering for service. Require all families to remain 6ft apart from their neighbors, but encourage households to come to service together.
Honor your MVP’s
Your church’s MVP’s are your most vulnerable people. When deciding what to do about regathering, keep those who are the most at-risk in mind.
Offer specific outreach programs for your most vulnerable members. Offer personal phone or video chats with pastors, drive through parades, outdoor Christmas lights viewings, or appreciation signs for their yards. They’re bound to feel the most isolated and in need of extra love this holiday season.
Coordinate online live streams throughout the holiday season with church leaders and volunteers. With Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, the options for connection are endless.
Have “Thankful Thursdays” throughout November where church members share what they’re most thankful for. Tell nightly installments of the birth of Jesus during the week of Advent. You can even light Advent candles together.
Secret St. Nicholas
Have your church’s creative team devise a secret Saint Nicholas event. Offer online enrolment forms for those interested to sign up to participate.
Match families with a set budget to exchange gifts by mail or by socially distanced dropoffs. This keeps your congregation connected to one another and could even form new relationships.