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Faith Leaders News & Events 4min read

Prepare Your Team for Return to In-Person Worship

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.

Not only do churches need to prepare our buildings for in-person worship as we covered in the previous article in this series, we also need to prepare and train those who will be serving with us in the building. Our team will need to prepare for a ministry that will look and feel different from before COVID-19.

The Right People in the Right Seats

We know the famous book by Jim Collins, “Good to Great.” He explains several steps, but one has always stuck out to me, having the right people in the right seats. Before COVID-19, everything was different and what was needed was also different. In this season, however, we might have people who have served faithfully in one area or one role. It would be a significant mistake to assume that this person should go back to the same place. Over time, the need might have changed for the area, or the person might have changed and can be used in a greater capacity somewhere else.

It is crucial to speak with the leaders to share the vision and goals for this new season. It is also essential to reimagine each ministry area and see if what you provided before COVID-19 is what you still need to deliver today.

Spiritual growth assessments, as well as personality assessments, can prove to be valuable in this process. Look at each leader’s gifts, talents, and skills to see if where they are is where they would best fit for them and the church.

More Leaders and Cross-Training for In-Person Worship

As we prepare to go back into the building, the need for more leaders is essential. If the government’s numbers or guidance remain the same, we will need more leaders to manage people’s flow and adherence to the guidelines. During this season, it would be wise to recruit more leaders and train them online for their future roles in the church.

I would also recommend that you cross-train your leaders, so each person knows the how and why behind each task. Cross-training on the why allows them to understand the end goal and, in doing so, allows them the opportunity to “make it better.”  I love this quote from Andy Stanley. The goal isn’t to do ministry how it has always been done, but to make it better. In this season, we have an awesome opportunity to make everything better if we try and if we have “new” and fresh eyes in every area.

Process of Communication During In-Person Worship

One other key as we prepare to return to in-person worship is to develop or strengthen our tools for communication. There is no doubt that parts of our plan will change whenever we go back. Some changes might be over a series of weeks, and some changes might be within the hour. Either way, a consistent and straightforward way of communicating to the congregation and the teams’ service will be fundamental. You don’t have to wait until you go back to have that process or system in place and have it tested for every situation. Some situations might call for a text message, others a phone call, and others a video to explain clearly.  Our church use several tools to ensure that we can connect with anyone quickly.

Lastly, when it comes to worship in the building, have a set time and place to huddle with the teams before worship and after worship. This will be very important to make sure that everyone hears the same thing and that the larger group can hear all questions or thoughts.

How have you been preparing your team for in-person worship? What would you add, or what have you seen done?

Learn more about Rev. Russell St. Bernard of Kingdom Fellowship AME by visiting After the Music Stops or MinistryPivot.

About the Author

Russell St. Bernard is the director for ministry operations at Kingdom Fellowship AME Church in Maryland, and the founder of After the Music Stops, a full-service youth ministry company as well as founder of Ministry Pivot, a company dedicated to assisting leaders and churches seize opportunities for growth.

Russell St. Bernard