Don’t treat church online as the ‘isolation option’:
While you may have permission to open your doors, you most likely have to meet at limited capacity. Let’s say your church auditorium is usually 75% full on a Sunday morning, and you’re only allowed to meet now at 50% capacity with no kids classrooms.
Consider someone who may not yet be comfortable meeting in person, or is showing symptoms, or finds out that someone they were in contact with is now showing symptoms. Parents with multiple kids who may have a hard time staying engaged in service while trying to stay socially distant from others. Multiple reasons why some families may have to stay home when they are desperate to engage in person with you.
Simply switching back to church in person and putting church online back in the closet for a rainy day isn’t properly serving members of your church who want to choose to continue to isolate, or people in your community who are interested in learning about your church, but not ready to visit in person.
Also, it seems like you’ll have to organize people to show up in 2 groups of no more than 50% each. Is your team ready to move to 2 services on a Sunday?
Your church’s outdoor signage is going to be pivotal in these times to let people arriving know what to expect, and invite them to join online.
- Outdoor church banners inviting your community to watch online.
Signage where nearby traffic is passing can invite your community to your service online. For instance, consider a picture of a family gathered around a laptop with information about your online service details (website address and times), or in a busy traffic area, a solid background with your logo since people are passing quickly.
Now, more than ever, people are looking for hope, and your church can offer that through the message of Jesus. Your community probably knows “there’s a church there” so it’s a great time to help them realize that they can ‘visit’ your church online.
Signage on your property leading up to your church can help members know what to expect. If you are down to limited capacity, you could have a sign that says “We’re limited to 50% capacity this morning. If we’re full, enjoy church online in your car this morning at (your website address).
You might also have signs that say “Running a fever? We’d love to have you join us from your couch this morning: (your website address).
Nobody wants to get to the front doors of church expecting to get in and be turned away – not a member, or a visitor – and letting them know with signage ahead of time will help them understand that it’s a possibility before they get to the doors. It won’t be a surprise that it’s possible or necessary if they’ve seen the signage.
Instead of just turning them away, you’ll be letting them know how they can connect with you online.
We’ve all missed church. As great as having church online is, we’ve missed being in person, seeing friendly faces and worshipping together.
If you haven’t yet built a parking lot team of volunteers, now is the perfect time. When people come back, they would love to see smiling faces holding signs that say “Welcome” or “We’re glad you’re here” or “You look great today.”
Start off a guest’s experience by seeing smiling faces in the parking lot welcoming them. Don’t wait until the building. Now, more than ever, we’re craving being with people and finding connection.
Have a photographer (or anyone with a phone) take pictures of your volunteer team holding signs, and use it as an intro slide show next week for church online, so people watching online get the same feeling from your church: “We’re glad you’re here.” Use some fun Hand Held signs to engage with them without touching if they’re concerned. Everyone is starting to like an air hug…but we’d prefer the real thing once this is over.
As our churches are able to meet again, you have the opportunity to use your signage leading up to your church to be a light to your community with church online, and set the expectations for what’s coming inside.