You are reading the first post in the mini-series entitled “When Churches Reopen”. I decided to write it when I began seeing that some churches around the world were beginning to reopen. When reading their announcements or newsletters I began noticing that a lot of them were forgetting a few things.
I realized that too many churches were forgetting some of the vulnerable people in it, be they financially, physically, or mentally vulnerable.
It’s no surprise that churches forgot a few things as they began to reopen. I mean, most of us haven’t lived through a global-scale pandemic before. So we’re going to get things very wrong, but hopefully, we’re going to get things very right too.
I’d like to give some general ways your church can begin to take an assessment of its members. And I think it’s useful regardless of whether or not you’re opening now.
Who Can Help?
The pandemic has changed the world as we knew it. And some people have been left in need of help because of it. But for many, it’s not easy to ask for help. Sometimes it’s easier to accept the help that’s being offered.
Helping the vulnerable is our individual and collective responsibility. Figure out what you and your fellow church members can offer.
Do you have food to share? Can you give people rides? Do you have toiletries to share? Can you offer to share your Wi-Fi? Do you have masks to share?
Now you need to get organized, and there are plenty of ways to do that.
Facebook: with a church, Facebook Group people can post what they have to offer. So if someone needs a mask to wear, they know who to ask.
Slack: with a church Slack, you can create channels based on different categories, like ‘Food’, ‘Transportation’ etc. That way members can post what they need or what they have to offer based on category.
WhatsApp: with a church WhatsApp group, you basically have a similar set-up to a Facebook group. But with WhatsApp, phone numbers will automatically be collected and at easy access for people to connect.
Google Sheets: with a Google Sheets document, you can create a simple directory with dedicated columns. I created a free template that you can take and use.
Download it by going to this link, clicking ‘File’, then in the dropdown menu clicking ‘Make A Copy’. You can even just view it as an example. Mine isn’t fancy at all.
Who Needs Help?
Helping the vulnerable means with us finding out who needs help right now. Maybe you’re already aware of the vulnerable members in your church. But if not, ask yourselves some of these questions.
Do any of your members already struggle with their mental health? Did any of your members have new babies? Do you have any elderly members? Do any of your members struggle with their physical health? Are your single members struggling with loneliness?
If you’re still at a loss, starting with what help your church has to offer can be a great way. It could be that as you make your help open and known to everyone, you will discover new needs, different needs, and you can organize and find help accordingly.
Look Outside Your Church
The world is hurting, broken, and a mess right now. Churches should be places of healing, mending, and help. Your church won’t have to look far to find places and people in the community that need help.
How is your church helping its vulnerable people in the world right now? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!
In this series: