Reverend Russell St. Bernard is the director for ministry operations at Kingdom Fellowship AME Church in Silver Spring, Maryland and a guest blogger for Givelify. This month, he is writing a series about how to prepare your church building, your team and your worship experience for a return to in-person service.
As we prepare to go back in-person worship services, we must be mindful that our worship experiences have changed. What people expect has changed, and what we understand about what worship will be has changed. As a result, we need to adjust our worship experience to match these changes in expectations.
New People in In-Person Worship
As mentioned in one of the previous articles in this series, several churches that have reopened their physical buildings have noticed a significant increase in visitors. This can be for one of the following two reasons: one, new people want to see your church because they have been visiting online but never attended and two, your regular and consistent members have decided to stay home or come to in-person worship less frequently. Those members may still be consistent in serving online and being active. However, they have decided not to rush back. This means that you can’t be tempted to go back on your focus.
Focus Both on In-Person and Virtual Worship
In a perfect world, we would have had a plan to focus on both virtual and in-person guests before COVID-19. But if we’re honest, most of our ministries had an online service available, meaning that those online could watch what we were doing in the building. COVID-19 has helped us to minister in a real way to everyone watching. We must fight the temptation to return to being one dimensional. It will be easier to just allow people at home to watch us have church again, but we must minister to those online just like those in-person.
For many of us, that means adding some technology to have hosts for the online congregation, separate from the in-person congregation. Many of us will still need to record certain parts of the service for playback during the worship experience to engage with those online effectively. We need to make sure that we continue to engage in the chat boxes.
Be Ready To Pivot
Every church is different. So, your worship experience likely had a different look and feel before COVID-19, compared to how it looks now. I believe that your worship experience will take on yet another look or pivot as we begin to see our congregation in-person. Trust that no one has all of the answers, and we will all make some mistakes. However, the key and the goal will be to engage those online and in-person to the best of our ability.
What would you add? How have you prepared for in-person worship?
Online giving will continue be important for in-person and virtual worship experiences. Givelify is where more than 60,000 places of worship and nonprofits come to instantly connect with the fastest growing community of people doing good. Givelify provides the best online donation platform and mobile giving app to serve the needs of your organization.
Learn more about Rev. Russell St. Bernard of Kingdom Fellowship AME by visiting After the Music Stops or MinistryPivot.