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Times are changing, and churches are finding new ways of doing worship. This is exciting news unless you’re not part of the email list or phone tree that heard about it, and you show up to the church, but no worship service is available. Let your community know about the new ways you’re church is offering worship during this challenging time of COVID-19. Here are five things to do to inform your community.

1. Update your church’s Find-A-Church listing

If someone is searching online for a worship service near them, Find-A-Church will pop up and guide people to information about the nearest UMC churches near them. Visit https://www.umc.org/en/find-a-church. If you don’t see your church, search for it on that site. When your church pops up, click on the church name to see more. Scroll down and click on the red UPDATE CHURCH button. Then follow the instructions provided on the website.

2. Update your church’s website

Make sure the new worship time and method are clearly labeled on the home page. You don’t have to write a vast explanation, but be mindful of the language you’re using. Instead of saying that worship is canceled, say we’re suspending in-person worship and offering …, check our website on Sundays to find out when in-person worship will resume.

3. Post the change on social media

Be sure to post the change of worship on your church’s social media accounts and repost it each Sunday, especially if there is a new link to online services each week. Ideally, you’re embedding the worship service on the same web page, but some churches might only offer Facebook Live without embedding anything. If you’re interested in learning more about embedding a video on your website, email .

4. Update the church phone message

Remember to be careful not to use negative language or an annoyed tone on your church message to communicate the COVID-19 disturbance to the regular worship schedule. People are contacting your church seeking something. Make sure every encounter is a reflection of God’s love.

5. Email your congregation

By now, you’ve probably already emailed your congregation about the changes to the worship schedule and ministries. But consider sending your congregation a daily message that includes a prayer or devotional that will help them feel God’s presence and know that you are thinking of them daily. Include a link to where to find accurate information for your area about COVID-19. Put yourself in your congregant’s shoes and explain the new social distancing guidelines in a way that clearly explains what that means for individuals and how they can stay connected. Finally, always offer a means to ask for prayer or the help of your church family.

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