It is almost June, and things are looking up.
Churches have slowly started the process of reopening its doors with new policies and procedures to keep members safe.
We’ve come a long way in a few short months, and churches should be applauded for their ability to pivot on a dime and keep weekly services going – albeit virtual.
I’ll bet if you went back to the middle of January and imagined all that your church would do in a few short months, you probably wouldn’t even believe it!
Yet here we are and finding ourselves coming out on the other side of this pandemic.
This pandemic came fast and will end a bit slower, but it will eventually be gone.
We as churches need to think about what was learned and how we can be ready next time.
11 Things To Document From The Pandemic
1. Employee Policies
Many churches scrambled to figure out how to deal with paying employees, managing virtual employees, or how to address countless issues that resulted from a sudden stop in office hours.
Take a few minutes to document all of those instances and what new policies and procedures were enacted to address them.
For instance, if employees were allowed to work from home, how did you ensure they had a secure network, had the proper equipment, and safeguarded church confidential data.
2. Technology Use
What would we have done without technology during this pandemic?
Technology literally saved the church in ways that many couldn’t even imagine!
Take the time to document what technology worked, what technology could have made things better, and lessons learned in troubleshooting technical issues.
For example, if your church did live streaming, document what technology was used, and the tricks you learned along the way.
Create a user manual so someone can pick it up next time and skip over those lessons learned – this will save lots of time next time!
3. Volunteer Training
What would we do without our armies of volunteers!
Think about those valuable volunteers who worked behind the scenes and helped facilitate the process.
Document how they helped and the new processes that were created to manage virtual services.
For instance, if you had volunteers in kid’s church offer activities or curriculum for kids to view at home, document the process of identifying materials, communicating, handling access, and followup with kids and parents.
4. Unanticipated Expenses
Who could have ever anticipated the unexpected expenses churches would face with this pandemic.
Make a list of those items that were necessary to manage with and figure out how much was spent.
Think about those things that were bought that added value, and make a list of things that you maybe thought would be beneficial, yet turned out to be unnecessary.
Again, these are lessons learned that someone can benefit from knowing next time. Document for future preparation.
5. Virtual Rehearsals
How did the worship team handle rehearsals?
Make a list of what worked and what changed week to week and write it down.
If there was a certain technology that was helpful, document it, if a day of the week or time of the day worked better, write it down.
Remember, the goal is to create a document that will help jump-start the process should this, or a similar event ever happen again.
6. Virtual Church Checklist
By now, your team is probably on autopilot when it comes to pulling off a virtual church service.
Create a service checklist for everything that needs to be done prior to, during, and after a virtual church service.
Use this as a working document and add to it as you identify additional things that need to be done.
7. Watch Parties
Did your church host watch parties?
If so, how did you organize them, how did you facilitate them, and how did you get members engaged?
Document everything you learned, what you wish you had known, and best practices from all of the groups.
8. Pandemic Supply List
Who would have ever guessed that toilet paper and hand sanitizer would be the hottest commodity around!
Make a list of those difficult to access supplies.
Include necessary supplies needed to facilitate a virtual service and supplies and equipment that simply was not available that would have made your life easier.
9. Supply Vendors
Take note of supply vendors that helped get you access to what you needed.
Hopefully, the vendors you typically use had ample supplies for your church.
If not, note any new vendor you used who was able to deliver the necessary supplies and equipment.
10. Sanitation Procedures
If your church hasn’t opened but will soon, you undoubtedly have new sanitation procedures.
For instance, if restrooms are cleaned before and after service, make a note of those commonly used surfaces that need to be sanitized more often.
11. Safe Rentry And Social Distancing Guidelines
Churches are taking different approaches to open their doors safely.
Create reopening guidelines for your church and use them as a working document as the weeks and months go by.
Try to stay flexible and adjust as needs change.
No two churches are the same so figure out what works for your church and go with that.
If reserving seats make sense – do that.
If scheduling times to attend a church service makes sense do that. Try it, learn from it, and document it!
Gather all of the above information and create a shared drive document or manual that employees can easily access.
None of us have ever seen anything like this in our lifetime – we will all remember this when we are old.
Take the time now to create a document that captures all that was learned through this pandemic. The documentation of this historical event will serve as a starting point for the need to pivot – should something like this ever happen again.