The Coronavirus continues to spread and with that comes suspensions and even closings.
Schools closed. NBA closed. Tom Hanks and his wife stuck in Australia. Conferences closed. NCAA games will be played without people in the stands. St. Patrick days parades closed. Italy has been placed on lockdown. Events have been cancelled or postponed. On and on and on the list could go.
I'm sure you've been discussing this with your church. Should you close down programming for the kids? Should you start promoting activities that are already planned for the summer? Should your entire church close down?
With these questions in mind, I joined an online meeting this week with some of the best children's ministry leaders in the world as they discussed what we can do with the situation we find ourselves in.
Lots of good ideas were shared about what children's ministries can do. Here are some notes from the conversation.
Use social media to communicate.
Some churches are offering online services instead of meeting at the church building.
Parents are concerned and want to know their child is safe in your care.
Pass out letters to parents letting them know of any changes you are making.
Leverage your child wellness policy.
Keep parents in the know. Communicate well.
Let parents know extra steps you are taking to keep kids safe.
Clean the rooms and wipe down toys after every service.
Be prepared for this to last for weeks or maybe longer.
Several states are asking for organizations to not meet if they have more than 100 people.
Some churches will be offering services on Facebook live.
Some churches are preparing a video lesson for kids that they will place on YouTube. They are also providing discussion questions for families with the video lesson.
Share a lesson on fear and faith.
Help parents know how to discuss the coronavirus with their children.
Safety and security is a vital part of children's ministry. Let parents know the steps you are taking to ensure their children will be safe.
Follow what the schools in your area are doing. If they close, consider closing as well.
Be sure to have your wellness plan in order.
If you normally serve snacks, temporarily stop doing this.
Wipe down your check-in areas / screens after every service.
If you have volunteers who are senior adults, be proactive in asking them to step back from serving until this is past. This is for their own safety and health since senior adults are more at risk.
Have plenty of hand sanitizer on hand.
Take out lesson activities that involve close interaction between kids.
Throw away your Play-do.
Work closely with your volunteers. Many may choose to stay home during this. Keep them connected.
Be prepared to close rooms or combine classes as needed.
Look for ways to use this time to support and encourage local officials and city organizations.
Put together supply kits to distribute to places in the community who need support.
Now is the time to lead strong. God will give you the wisdom and strength you need as you lean on Him.
What are you doing to navigate your ministry in this time of need? Share your thoughts and insight in the comment section below.