It’s no secret that COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on Sunday School and small group attendance. Some groups are not meeting in person yet, others are meeting in a hybrid format (one session at the church campus, and the next one online), some groups are back on the church campus but are practicing physical distancing in larger rooms, and still other groups have regathered in their pre-COVID location; attendance levels in any of these scenarios are not what they were pre-COVID, though. There is much work to be done to regather the church’s groups. As your church’s groups look forward to reassembling again, here are 3 ways to help your church’s groups bounce back from COVID-19.
- Provide an option for your online attendees. Some of the members of your church’s groups are not going to be back until there is a vaccine. They may be in a physically compromised situation, or someone they live with may be in that category. If groups return to campus after they’ve met for online Bible study, you’ll leave these people behind if you don’t have a plan for providing them with some kind of online option.
- Encourage adult group members to serve in your church’s ministry to kids. One of the big challenges that churches face today is the issue of children’s groups whose leaders cannot or will not return. Some children’s group leaders are older adults who may not feel comfortable coming back to lead their former group until there is a vaccine. If you are an adult group leader, this is the time that your church needs you to encourage group members to leave your group. Younger and median-aged adults must invest their time and energy in your church’s ministry to its youngest members and stand in the gap. If there are few groups for kids, it will negatively impact the attendance of your adult groups whose members have younger children.
- Continue providing a safe environment. I have recently been in several churches around the country. I’ve seen the safety measures of churches in Oregon, Kentucky, and Alabama in the last three weeks. I’ve been impressed with the level of intensity they are maintaining in their efforts to continue to clean and disinfect classrooms and worship centers. Hard surfaces are disinfected between sessions. Masks are either strongly encouraged or required. Many of the pews in the worship center are blocked off, and other physical distancing measures are in still in place. Now is not the time to let up on safety protocols. If you want people to come back, they must be assured you are taking COVID seriously and continually looking for ways to create a safe environment for all members of their families.