A Letter to the Church – A Quick Guide for Pastors and Ministries on the use of technology during “Lockdown”.
Since the Covid-19 virus became a threat to our people, governments around the world have put in measures to limit people’s movements.
At first in Botswana it was no more than 100 people were allowed to gather. Then 1-2, 1-2 it became “no more than 10 people can gather”.
Eventually the president announced a nationwide lockdown.
What does that mean for the church?
For as long as can remember we have been meeting every Sunday or Saturday, singing songs, holding hands, praying, smiling, having luncheons. All of a sudden, we are confined to our houses. We can’t even meet with our neighbors for “cell group” at the moment.
So, is church cancelled?
1. The church is NOT the building. The church is not the 4 walls, nor is it by the tree or the stream or mountain where we might gather. Therefore, you technically do not “go to church”, you go to a building to gather as the church.
2. The church IS the body of Christ, with Jesus Christ as its head; the body being every Christian/believer on earth; thus, the church is made up of people. THE CHURCH IS THE PEOPLE.
While exercising extreme social distancing, THE CHURCH IS NOT CANCELLED. If anything, it is strengthened. The church will have more opportunity to pray, to fast, to study the Word (Bible), to worship; and to strategize, to innovate and to strengthen itself and come out stronger than it did when going in.
The church will have more time to meet everyday online, instead of once a week.
However, the church must be prepared. Pastors, ministers, ministries and support admin must armed with the tools, the technical tools.
Below are a few things that you should put in place immediately.
1. Data / Internet
Without internet, you are in a black box. You will not be seen nor heard. You will need lots of data, and ideally a spare/secondary internet connection. You can get fixed internet installed at your house by an ISP (e.g Nashua, BTC, etc). You can get Mobile Broadband Internet from the networks (Orange, Mascom, BeMobile), and of course your regular mobile internet through your phone. If you can get uncapped packages, get that at the highest speed your budget allows. Budget P1000 – P1500 per month and you should be fully covered. Note that everyone will be at home at the same time, and internet is like your water tap. If everyones taps are on, you get less water flowing. So pay that extra amount to get that extra pressure coming to you.
2. Whatsapp Business
Since church members cant visit your office or call in to your office, they should have your phone number. The Whatsapp Business app is best to deal with this. It is different from normal Whatsapp app. How?
-You can have auto-responses when people message you. -You can set various templates for faster communication/responses to commonly asked questions like “how can I give my offering”.
-You can catalogue and tag your contacts into specific groupings as well, e.g to pray for, to call, to follow up.
-You probably already know that you can set up groups for your departments, cell groups, etc (note: I think people are tired of groups).
You need to speak to your people. They must see your face and hear your voice. If you want to go professional and already have the technology in place, then find a big house so that your technical team can be around to assist, or learn the tech quick.
If you don’t have the tech nor the expertise, then make sure it is one of the first things you invest in after lock down. Most ministries won’t have such setups.
What you may already have though is a cell phone.
-A cellphone with a great camera will do the job as efficiently as an expensive camera.
- Good videography needs good light. The light must shine on your face, and not come from behind you. So face a window.
-The camera must be still. Buy a tripod or a mini tripod.
-And there must be good sound. Invest in a microphone you can attach on to your phone. It will make a world of difference.
This whole setup will cost about P10,000 if you have a phone, and an additional +-P10,000 if you don’t have a good phone.
4. Channel/Platform (Record and Upload, or Livestream)
Social Media is not the devil. Social channels are where your people are. People wake up to check their WhatsApp, instagram, Facebook; and late in the day go to YouTube and Netflix. YOU ARE COMPETING FOR ATTENTION. So make your content “powerful” enough to be worth giving attention to.
-Rather make bite size content everyday, instead of one long sermon once a week.
-If you can have a series, do that. e.g 5 minutes of power prayer. Morning Devotions with Pastor Andre. Midday Miracles. Dinner with the Fam. That will produce consistency which your followers can engage with.
- You can record, then upload your messages. Or you can livestream.
One thing to remember though in all this is, a lot of our older congregation will need to learn/adpot. Our younger guys have got this, this is their daily living.
We look forward to helping churches continue imparting hope, faith and love to the people.
Get in touch with us.