It's important to echo the advice of the New Zealand Government to ensure we all unite against COVID-19. The primary goal is to help people stay safe and connected. Part of this means referring to reputable and local sources. We recommend only referring to advice given on the Ministry of Health website or the Government’s COVID-19 website. DO NOT share other countries’ advice, as it may differ to that of ours, and could put people in undue risk.
Now is the time for the Church to unite and stand as a community, embrace new approaches of outreach and continue to be a voice of hope to those who need it the most. While this pandemic is serious and requires sensitivity, with change also comes new opportunities to advance the Kingdom of God and messages of peace, grace, love and truth.
We understand there have been recent votes, decisions and directives made by the New Zealand Government that many will disagree with. However, it's important that we keep those opinions clearly separate from the Government’s advice and response to this pandemic.
Many leaders have far more influencer over peoples’ opinions and decisions when they post personal items, comments and messages on Social Media. Encourage your leaders to communicate from the same song book. We will have more guidance on this shortly.
Not all people in your community will have access to certain forms of technology, so be sure to discuss how you will stay in touch and support potentially vulnerable members of your church and community. Also keep in mind that your communications strategy may also need tailoring to the unique needs and questions of vulnerable individuals and groups, such as conveying information to parents on developmentally appropriate ways to talk with their children about COVID-19.
We recommend creating one centralised page on your website where your congregation can visit for the most recent information and advice. The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly changing, which may require plans to be updated after they’ve been made. By having a one-stop location for key announcements and information, your community can be assured they have the most up-to-date information at any given time.
There are many churches around New Zealand who are live streaming services on Sundays. Check to see if other churches you partner with have announced they will be live streaming their services. Below are some churches who will be streaming online this Sunday:
One of the most important things to do as a church community is to stay connected. With many people in self-isolation and the advice from government to keep a minimum of one meter physical distance, it’s important to remember this does not mean social isolation. As humans, we are made for community!
We recommend encouraging your church to participate in and initiate social interaction with others. Always use the term "physical distancing" rather than "social distancing," and encourage people to keep in touch with friends and family via the phone, or online.
Remember, we are preparing and planning, not speculating or panicking. With this in mind, consider discussing potential scenarios internally and pre-writing some announcements in advance. This will minimise composing messages during the confusion and chaos of crisis and will give you time to think through the tone and the message you hope to send.
It’s important to rely on more than one communication channel for distributing information, as many people in our communities won’t use the same channels to receive information. There are many ways to communicate with your community beyond Social Media, including your website, email database, phone calls and texts via leaders and building signage.
Consider using search and social advertising to boost online visibility and let people know you are running online services. Search volume for online services is increasing with physical distancing. Search can allow people who are not connected with you on email or social to find your service. Make it as easy as possible for people to find information on how to stay connected.
Whether you're creating visual content for your website or a Social Media post, ensure you display all information clearly. “Creative design” is not the priority, but rather clear communication. This does not mean you shouldn’t use your brand, in fact using your band at it’s most basic level is recommended.
Keep text on solid colours to improve readability, and ensure you use appropriate alt-text and captions to make any information in your graphic accessible to everyone.
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