Ministering to the flock has not stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, it has become creative and shifted delivery methods. Teachers and group members have continued to connect through online apps, text, email, phone, social media, and mail.
At the same time, I have heard so many express longing for face-to-face community. Some of that longing can be seen in the large numbers of those who have gathered for online worship and Sunday School. The class and church I attend have both had attendance online that is significantly higher than pre-COVID-19.
Is that because of the convenience of connecting online from home rather than getting ready and traveling to the church building? I am sure convenience is a part of the increase. On the other hand, I believe that convenience has connected to the strong longing for community.
As state guidelines make provision for regathering, let’s be intentional in doing so. The sheep have been scattered through this pandemic. Do everything you can to pursue each one relentlessly. Like the shepherd, leave the 99 and go after each one of the sheep.
Enlist a team to help. If your group has care group leaders, ask them to help. If not, enlist a “shepherd” for every 4-5 people on your class roll (including absentees). Give those shepherds contact information for their “flock.” Ask the shepherds to make multiple contacts with each member of their flock.
What will the shepherds do? Consider these ideas:
- check on how the individual and his/her family are doing
- share about the regathering date and plan
- ask him/her to attend that day and ask whether he/she will attend that day
- ask how you can pray for him/her
- pray together.
Because of the nature of the contacts, phone or online video app may be the best means of communication. The contacts do not have to take long, but it will likely take more than one attempt for some. And the care should continue beyond the initial contact…or the contact will appear to be a project rather than real care.
Enlist your shepherd team now. Pray together. Give them their assignments and contact information. Set a deadline for the team to make the contacts (prior to the regathering date). Make sure your classroom has enough space to accommodate everyone who plans to attend, allowing for 6′ social distancing for a maximum of 10 people. For what that might look like, check out Sunday School at Social Distance.
Below are links to 3 posts about making the most out of this unique time in the life of the church, a preparation video for reentering Sunday School, and some guidelines for regathering. Check out these links:
- The Future of Sunday School
- Before Regathering Sunday School
- Using Zoom for Your Bible Study Group
- Video: Reentering Sunday School
- Regathering Groups Guidelines.
Care enough to plan for regathering. Be intentional. Enlist shepherds, pray, and mobilize care. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!