Now more than ever, as COVID-19 related restrictions continue to affect the country, church members need discipleship direction. As physical gatherings of church have been disrupted, many individuals who rely on church leadership to guide them in spiritual growth may risk feeling lost. Although people may be feeling disconnected from one another during this season of social distancing, it is most important they do not disconnect from God.
Thankfully, through technology, there are multiple ways to facilitate discipleship growth remotely, all-year-round, pandemic, or no pandemic.
Host Online Bible Studies
Multiple church technology companies and ministries now provide video Bible study series. These can be excellent tools for family discipleship and individual growth. They can still be utilized in a small group setting, by having everyone in the group watch the same series followed by a meet up via a secure video platform such as the free Faithlife Groups to discuss what was learned.
Utilize Valuable Screen Time
It’s safe to say that, throughout this pandemic, people’s screen time is at an all-time high, which poses a timely opportunity to share uplifting entertainment options with your congregation. There are a plethora of not only Christian movies available, but thought-provoking documentaries covering different Scriptural subjects as well as Bible-based series for kids such as those offered on Faithlife TV. Especially during days like these when limiting screen time is even more difficult than normal, it is a perfect opportunity to point church members toward options for screen time that help them to focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
Lead a Reading Plan
In addition to virtual Bible studies, there are many options available for online Bible reading plans. Church leaders can select a Bible reading plan for the whole church to join to keep everyone in God’s Word every day. To keep members cognizant of the reading plan, consider posting daily social media reminders as well as sending text-blast or email blasts about the daily reading. Virtual Bible reading plans can also be an excellent supplement to go along with corresponding Bible study video series covering the same topic. Having individuals hear, see and read God’s Word is a mighty tool for helping it to take root inside their hearts.
Start a Prayer Feed
Whether it’s via your church’s website, an app, Faithlife Group, private Facebook group, email chain, or another mode of communication, be sure to prioritize prayer and the confessing of prayer needs. When people are physically distant, it requires more effort to touch base with friends and fellow church members to talk about what is going on in their lives. But keeping things secret, even if they are not something of which to be ashamed, can produce negative effects. “He who conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). In whatever way fits your congregation best, equip them to share their prayer requests, updates and praises often.
Each of these tools can serve a purpose not only during days like these, but all the time, especially for congregant members who have limited capacity to join church physically each Sunday or attend a weekly small group. As the world combats this current coronavirus crisis, church members need to be built up in their faith to be a light of hope as a witness to a hurting world. Through the blessing of technology, the global Church can be strengthened in several ways, and emerge on the other side of this pandemic with more faith than ever before.