Earlier I stirred the pot with a post challenging churches to take a step back and check their motivation before posting #prayfor graphics (or memes) after a tragedy. I made the point that “churches should set the trend for taking action during a tragedy, not just post cute graphics on social media.” Too often I see churches hustle to get a trendy graphic up, then they do nothing. A week later it’s business as usual. As the church, we can do better. We have to do better.

Read my original post.

My friend Kenny Jahng wrote a response, 5 Reasons Why Churches Need to Pay More Attention to #PrayFor_____ Memes.

I love Kenny’s response, and I love the conversations that have come out of this. Kenny makes some great points on how these types of graphics do encourage others and show that the church cares.

I’m not opposed to churches posting these kind of graphics, of course. My intention is to get the church thinking about how they can do more than just follow the trend. The church needs to be setting the trends. The church needs to not only be joining the conversation, but leading the conversation. Why? Because the church is God’s plan to bring light, and love, and blessing into this world. We are called to be the hands of feet of Jesus. And if Jesus had social media when he came to the world, I guarantee he would have done more than just post a graphic.

5 Ways Your Church Can Take Action During a Tragedy

Beyond the obvious – yet most powerful – thing you can do, which is to actually pray, here are some quick ideas on how you can take it a step further…

  1. Your pastor can go live on Facebook or post a video sharing his support for victims, prayer for those affected, read a devotion, or otherwise provide hope and healing for those who are hurting.
  2. Post a blog post on how the Bible calls us to respond when people are hurting. Add something positive to the overly worldly articles and responses filling our news feeds.
  3. Organize volunteers and community groups to hit the streets and meet needs. Bring water and food to protestors and police officers, for example. If your church isn’t local to the tragedy, partner with a church that is. Send them money, people, supplies, and other support.
  4. Fundraise. Consider donating this Sunday’s tithes and offerings directly to a cause that can help meet the needs of those affected by the tragedy. Use Facebook’s new fundraising option to raise funds online.
  5. Ask questions. Don’t know how to respond? Don’t quite understand someone’s point of view? The church should not be afraid to lovingly engage and ask questions so it can learn to do better.

This is just a start. What are some other ideas? What are the ways your church is taking action? Comment below or join the conversation in a Facebook group.

Please don’t read my opinions and decide to do nothing. That’s the opposite of what I’m proposing. When it comes down to it, the church should be known for how we loved and helped, not how we stood by and did nothing.