Serving the Faithful In A Post-Coronavirus Society
“The Coronavirus is in our land and now we must live with common sense….”
–Captain Kelly Durant The Salvation Army
In 1897, Daimler Victoria became the first metered automobile taxi service. In 2012, Uber transforms this model by offering a mobile app, allowing customers to repurpose another’s automobile. This innovative strategy is a blueprint for Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) to begin to decentralize many of their functions when activities and events are cancelled or discouraged.
As governments declare national emergencies, impose travel and transportation restrictions and erect containment zones some FBOs are still convening events, meetings and services. These same FBOs are still using social media and other technologies to announce their health and safety precautions. This type of leadership is misguided during the Coronavirus (COVID -19) pandemic, particularly when podcasts and streaming services exist, yet some refuse to alter their fixed number of weekly meetings and services.
A Reverend in Washington, D.C., gave communion and shook hands with over 500 people; then tested positive for COVID-19, forcing hundreds of parishioners to self-quarantine. Thousands of similar actions by like-minded individuals have led many congregants, nationwide, to stay home, prompting a priest to publicly remark, “the future is people now realizing they are the church not a location.”
A pandemic of this magnitude redefines society. Once COVID-19 subsides, the government will create post-mortem reports and develop best practices. One primary focus will be for more responsible leadership. I doubt weekly meetings and services amidst health alerts will continue without some government intervention. We can expect governments to intervene in ensuring the health and safety of all worshippers by suspending all public worship when and if social distancing is required.
FBOs should offer hub and spoke televangelist models.
Imagine a centralized operation and location (Hub) that exists to empower, equip and support various locations (spokes) across town or the world. The Hub is no longer primarily focused on increasing membership and expanding its facilities but using the internet and other technology to offer remote faith-based experiences. This approach will facilitate religious activities, prayer, discussion, teaching and worship services. This televangelist-type approach over next 3 months becomes the new normal. As congregants learn to remotely consume their faith-based experiences.
What might this look like?
- Originate and broadcast all content.
- Collect and manage donations and membership.
- Enter into contracts, purchase insurance and manage staff.
- Arrange for speakers, singers and other performers.
- Collaborate with government and public health organizations.
- Are home-based and will self-determine group size.
- Gather when and if they determine to minister, build relationships, worship and volunteer.
- Are composed of both online communities and neighborhood based individuals.
- Offer curb-to-curb services for the elderly, recreational, social and volunteer opportunities.
- Appoint leaders and volunteers that agree to undergo routine health screenings.
- Host joint activities and events both online or at meeting points.
What Do You Think?
I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I have no vested interest in any of the products, firms or institutions mentioned in this post. Nor does the Analyst Syndicate. This is not a sponsored post.