COVID-19: 100 Ideas for Ministers and Ministry Leaders

A lot of us are wondering how church will be the same (or different) now that we’re in the middle of a lot of changes related to COVID-19. I think this is a time for us, as church leaders, to show our creativity. I think that churches and ministry people are endlessly creative, and I wanted to jump start some of that creativity. Here are 100 things to think about as you go about leading your congregations. Many of these ideas are things I’ve seen people post about on twitter or talk about in Facebook groups. I decided to compile them all in one place. Enjoy, and add your ideas to the comments as you feel led.

Ways to Keep Your Church Community Running  

  • 1. Zoom Conferencing for worship, meetings, or discussion 
  • 2. Facebook (or Instagram) Live Broadcasting 
  • 3. Group Text Messaging / Group Chat (using GroupMe or Remind)  
  • 4. Facebook Groups for Book Studies and Bible Studies 
  • 5. YouTube channel or Broadcasting 
  • 6. Blog Posts with Comments (I use WordPress
  • 7. Use Twitter to communicate and stay in touch
  • 8. Telephone Conferencing (Here’s a free resource) 
  • 9. Take Prayer Requests Online or on the phone, and have a virtual prayer meeting
  • 10. Google Video Chats for Small Group/Pastoral Care Meetings 
  • 11. Make a SurveyMonkey or Google Form to find out how people want to connect online
  • 12. Ask everyone to light a candle at the same time and post photos 
  • 13. Host a photo challenge (I’m thinking of something like this Lenten  one)
  • 14. Make sure people can continue to give to the church remotely  (Simple Give  is what our church uses, but there are others 
  • 15. If you have an electronic (or other) sign, use it to post encouraging messages for the community 
  • 16. Take a look at one of these Intergenerational Ideas for young people and cross+gen community
  • 17. Find and share articles and stories of people persevering through adversity and challenge using social media 
  • 18. Use prefilled cups/wafers for communion 
  • 19. Tap into the leadership resources you already have established (boards, committees, teams) and repurpose them for what is needed right now.
  • 20. Make sure to encourage leaders and staff to care for themselves to avoid compassion fatigue as things get more challenging. 

Classic or Creative Spiritual Practices that Can Be Practiced At a Distance or In Small Groups

  • 21. Find a Labyrinth to walk 
  • 22. Make a Post-it Prayer Wall or other community prayer wall  
  • 23. Plant a garden and post about its progress   
  • 24. Open the Sanctuary for small groups and individuals to come in and pray or light a candle  
  • 25. Encourage people to stop by your outside prayer gardens alone or in small groups
  • 26. Tie prayer requests to fences outside of your building or make an outdoor prayer box
  • 27. Have people pray in “shifts” over a period of time so your community knows someone is in constant prayer 
  • 28. Set up an interactive Prayer station on lament 
  • 29. Set up some of these nature/outdoor themed Prayer Stations 
  • 30. Read a book of the Bible together (and check in over one of the platforms above) 
  • 31. Make a group gratitude journal either online, or somewhere everyone can contribute
  • 32. Divide people up into prayer partners or prayer groups to meet virtually or via phone
  • 33. Pray for the world 
  • 34. Tons more prayer stations 
  • 35. Promote the use of a daily Bible reading guide 
  • 36. Encourage use of the d365 devotional for a great daily online devotional
  • 37. Use the Pray as You Go app
  • 38. The poetry foundation has a poem of the day that is great for centering and thinking in new ways
  • 39. Get completely out of this world by looking at NASA’s astronomy picture of the day
  • 40. In these tense times, practice joy

Loving Your Neighbor 

  • 41. Wash hands and practice social distancing
  • 42. Drop off food and supplies to older adults and those in isolation 
  • 43. Give a phone call to those who are staying at home, use a phone tree if you have one 
  • 44. Connect with community programs who are helping children who are out of school 
  • 45. Create an emergency fund to help people who are living paycheck to paycheck and are temporarily out of work 
  • 46 .Support Asian restaurants and businesses who are facing discrimination 
  • 47. Share your abundance if you’ve got extra from your stockpile 
  • 48. Send cards, mail, and prayers to people at home 
  • 49. Find ways to support and nurture health care workers through prayer and providing a place of respite 
  • 50. Donate to local organizations who continue to serve the most vulnerable 
  • 51. Share ideas as a community. Who needs help? How can we help? Have an offering of service ideas on your social media  
  • 52. Offer extra support to those in your community with mental health challenges such as depression or anxiety 
  • 53. Don’t label people as overreacting or underreacting. Practice compassion.
  • 54. Remember that COVID-19 preparedness helps the most vulnerable
  • 55. Ask a mom-to-be, how you can help support her in this challenging time 
  • 56. Share reputable information, not misinformation or rumor (it can be hard to tell the difference. I recommend this resource center.) 
  • 57. Check in with immigrant and refugee communities 
  • 58. Stock your church’s little library or little food pantry 
  • 59. Check in with artists and speakers whose income has been severely affected by cancellations
  • 60. Be reminded of the importance of being kind through one of these kindness quotes

Faith at Home Practices to Encourage 

  • 61. Create a sacred space at home to pray and meditate 
  • 62. Start a regular prayer practice (here’s my prayer book) 
  • 63. Do one of the practices in Faithful Families, such as family Lectio Divina, Washing Worries Away, or starting a Nighttime Blessing Practice
  • 64. Send home books for parents and children to read at home 
  • 65. Create a version of take out church or church to go
  • 66. Do acts of service together at home, reaching out to those who need company  
  • 67. Spend time outside, breathing in fresh air and listing reasons to be grateful 
  • 68. Do practices from a Faith Jar 
  • 69. Bake and break bread together — talk about the parable of the yeast
  • 70. Watch a caterpillar turn into a butterfly 
  • 71. Read from the Family Time Bible 
  • 72. Make a prayer chain with gratitude or prayer requests. Watch it grow every day. 
  • 73. Help children to feel secure and safe by using one of these practices. 
  • 74. Draw or color your prayer requests. Post pictures and share with others, or mail to those who are isolated.
  • 75. Sing a simple song or hymn together from your faith tradition. 
  • 76. Blow bubbles or fly a kite. Let them remind you of the Holy Spirit that moves in mysterious ways
  • 77. Make origami birds or butterflies as a symbol of hope and resurrection 
  • 78. Feed the birds to remember how God cares for creation 
  • 79. Use the butterfly hug to create calm and peace 
  • 80. Remember play can be a spiritual practice 

Spiritual Practices to Reduce Anxiety and Foster Peace 

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