With all that is going on, a regular monthly newsletter will not do. Instead, I wanted to send along this special short note to share with you three bits of information from our learnings that might help you during this time when churches are suspending public worship to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
LIVE STREAM YOUR SERVICES. I put together a quick video for my diocese that should help. It's the four steps you need to take to live stream on Facebook Live (and anyone can access it, even if they're not on Facebook). All of our churches can be "live" this Sunday.
ZOOM FOR MEETINGS/STUDIES. The Lifelong Learning team at Virginia Theological Seminary will host a webinar today (Thursday, March 12) on the best practices for using Zoom in our settings. I encourage you to check it out or be sure to watch the recording of it. (The recording and other great webinars are available on the Building Faith website.)
TEXT TO CALM FEARS. Our "Connected Congregations" experiment has worked really well in keeping people informed about the happenings in their congregations. It has also proven to be a good pastoral tool. As a participating congregation rector said: "My favorite use has been prayer groups. I'll break parishioners into groups of 7 folks each. A new group will get a text Sunday afternoon letting them know that I'm praying for them that week and asking if there's anything specific they want me to pray for. It has really opened the doors for me on a pastoral level. Many times I would have never learned about a situation if it wasn't for these intentional texts." Perhaps this is a great opportunity to start a texting program in your congregation and stay better connected. We use SimpleTexting which is incredibly easy to use. (You can tell them TryTank sent you!)
Lastly, let's all keep each other in prayer during these times. Please know that you are in mine.
The Rev. Lorenzo Lebrija is the founding director of the TryTank Experimental Lab.