19 ways to help your church thrive during COVID-19

Each of us is probably yearning for certain things from our pre-pandemic life, but there is one thing that just about everyone in the NCF family has in common – we miss going to church! And we’re all concerned about helping our churches survive, and even thrive during this pivotal time.

To do just that, we asked pastors and church leaders across the country to suggest some creative ways that you can help your church thrive in the pandemic. Here are some ideas:

  1. Remember the Sabbath: According to a recent study, almost a third of churchgoers have dropped out during the pandemic. If you’re growing weary of virtual Sunday mornings alone, organize a watch party on Zoom to stream your worship service with friends, and chat as you go along.
  2. Put your giving on auto-pilot: Without the offering plate, it’s easy to forget to mail or go online for your church giving. Use your Giving Fund at NCF to set up recurring grants for your regular commitments to your church.
  3. Volunteer your skills: Do you have accounting or business skills? Ask if you can help your church cut expenses. Are you good at administration? See if you can fill in when they are short-staffed. Handy with social media? Volunteer to make regular posts.
  4. Stay connected: Encourage your small group or Sunday School class to keep meeting virtually or outdoors, following safety guidelines. Create a contact list, and reach out by phone, email, and text every week to stay in touch and pray for each other.  
  5. Encourage generosity: During times of crisis, church giving is undoubtedly affected, even as needs grow. Now is a crucial time to engage friends from church in deeper generosity. A great way to do this is by hosting an online Journey of Generosity event. 
  6. Invite new people to virtual church: Reach out via phone or text to some people you know who aren’t attending church anywhere, not even online. Ask them if they’d like to watch a service with you, and make sure they have the times and links to watch. Then, follow-up afterwards to talk about the service.
  7. Invest in tech: Does your church need an investment in technical equipment and training to serve your congregation virtually? Contact your pastor to see if you can contribute financially or offer to invest your time if you have technical skills.
  8. Try something new: If you’ve never done a virtual Bible study before, now’s your opportunity. Use a tool like the YouVersion Bible app to keep your friends from church connected and in the Word. Invite them, and others, to do a study online and learn together each week.
  9. Coordinate a communication plan: Does your church have a structure in place to ensure people are connected to a group who will care for each other’s needs? If not, call your church leaders to ask if you can help assign each member with a list of people to regularly contact so that no one feels isolated.
  10. Remember the lonely: Don’t forget to check on people in your congregation who live on their own, whether they are elderly or young single members. Stop by their home for a chat from a safe distance outside, or send a hand-written card.
  1. Donate your tablet: In some churches, pastors are asking for people to donate iPads, iPhones, or other tablets to help others go online to attend worship services virtually. Consider donating or buying a tablet for someone who doesn’t have a device. (Added bonus: These can be used by kids for school work in coming months of online learning.)
  2. Keep the peace: As many pastors are working extra hard to keep their congregations facing forward with a plan, they report being caught in the crossfire of their leaders and congregants who disagree about social and political issues. Consider how you can meditate, pray, and sow peace within yourself and among your church family. Consider Romans 12:18 and 14:19
  3. Look outward: Talk with church leaders about how you and other members can partner with local ministries that may be overwhelmed. Serving the hurting together can bring new purpose to your church, as it did for one NCF giver and his church in Austin, Texas.
  4. Care for other churches: While your church may be facing its own challenges, there are probably other churches in your area who are facing even greater struggles. Help your church find out about other local churches who are hardest hit, and reach out to see how you can help. Read about the need and how other churches are helping churches in their areas
  5. Invest in your benevolence ministry: With so many people struggling or unemployed, your benevolence ministry is most likely overwhelmed with needs. Reach out to see if you can help your pastor in charge of benevolence with your community contacts, resources, or volunteer time.
  6. Support your worship team: Contact your worship leaders to see what they need to thrive remotely. Ask them to build a special Spotify playlist of worship songs that you and others can share on social media, or other ways you can share their gifts.
  7. Give to the international church: There are brothers and sisters struggling in areas around the world who are watching the progress that has been made to eliminate poverty over the past 30 years quickly unravel. An investment in their churches can help fight the crisis abroad.
  8. Pray for revival:Revivals and awakenings in the past have almost always occurred during times of great disruption and social upheaval. Everyone in the body of Christ can participate in praying for revival! Pray and remember that the Lord is working all things together for good.
  9. Shift your mindset: It’s helpful to remember that the church is who we are, not just a place we go. In this unfamiliar season, pray about how we can all shift our thinking from church-consumers to church-givers who serve as the hands and feet of Jesus to those around us.

Looking for another powerful way to help your church thrive? We can help you explore tax-advantaged, non-cash gifts that could enable you to give more than you ever dreamed possible. Contact your NCF team to learn more.

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About the Author

With 20 years of experience as a brand journalist, Sheila Dolinger writes on a variety of topics from her home in Atlanta, Georgia. When she isn’t busy embarrassing her teenage kids on social media, she mentors underserved youth through a local creative writing program.

About NCF

The National Christian Foundation is a charitable giving ministry that provides innovative, tax-smart giving solutions for Christian families and their advisors. Since 1982, we’ve sent more than $12 billion in giver-recommended grants to 63,000 charities at work in disaster relief, Scripture translation, adoption, homelessness, education, and countless other causes.


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