Getting Back to It

Friday, April 23rd, 2021

Over the past year of the pandemic, there has been great loss and suffering to many across the globe. It was a year of panic, anxiety and a range of other emotions for people of all ages. But in the midst of it all, many were hopeful, optimistic, steadfast and came together in ways they never thought they could. Churches and faith-based organizations used technology they had never used before and found ways to connect with people that forged deeper connections than a traditional Sunday interaction.

Some organizations have begun in-person worship, but many have not yet transitioned back to in-person activities such as children’s ministry and youth events. You may be planning for camps this summer but are still unsure of how to plan.

As you prepare for getting back to the new normal, there are a number of things you can do to be proactive and instill confidence in parents, grandparents and congregants, as well as the children and youth who enter your doors. Here are 4 ways to prepare:

  1. Communicate. Make sure you not only have the proper health and safety protocols in place, but also that you communicate these to your congregants and community. Use your website, a newsletter, your social media pages, or a flyer in the mail to let people know when you will be ready for them and what the protocols are for your activities. For example, if you are requiring masks for attendance, let them know that in advance.
  2. Make sure your volunteers and staff are up-to-date with their screening and training. Don’t wait until it’s too late—the time to start is now. When you decide to resume children’s ministry activities, you need to make sure you have the right number of staff and volunteers in place.
  3. Be patient. We’ve all been through something—to varying degrees of discomfort or pain. There are many people who are not ready to come back to in-person activities. Be patient and continue to try to engage them with online or remote opportunities. Don’t be judgmental If they do not feel comfortable yet.
  4. Listen to feedback. Let your congregants tell you how they are feeling, and be open to their suggestions. They may have experiences that will help you navigate any permanent changes you decide to make. For example, you may decide that you want to continue with remote ministry indefinitely as a way to connect with people who occasionally or for health reasons can’t make it to service or activities.

We’re all in this together. Even if you aren’t getting back to normal quite yet, it’s always helpful to have plans in place—with grace and flexibility at the forefront.