Declared a worldwide pandemic in March of 2020, the COVID-19 virus changed everything. Many people in the United States had never experienced anything of this nature, and the pandemic rapidly became a scary time for people from all walks of life. Not only is there the health crisis to contend with, but also a devastating social and economic crisis that many people are facing.
People across the country went from barely knowing what the Novel Coronavirus was to suddenly having to stay in their homes and finding out that they no longer had a job. Inexplicably, toilet paper flew off the shelves, and a sense of unease and panic-filled most of the everyday, hard-working members of society.
During these times, people need information, guidance, and leadership. The ramblings of an uneducated acquaintance on social media do little to assuage fear, while the lack of authentic, detailed information made everything worse. People needed accurate, timely facts and research-based information to help them navigate these difficult times. Who could step up and provide this support?
For many people, the place they turn to during these challenging and unprecedented situations is their church. But, the doors were closed, and the public was required to stay home. How could they get connected to their community, when they were not able to come within six feet of another human?
Sharing Valuable Information with Communities – Even in Times of Physical Distance
Seeds to Oaks stepped up as a natural leader during this difficult time. With expert knowledge and experience in mobilizing churches to reach community members, the Seed to Oaks team has often been at the helm of grassroots movements.
In partnership with the Sojourn Network, Seed to Oaks brought their neighborhood engagement experience to the forefront. With the pandemic affecting every single person, these two powerhouse teams came together to bring the necessary tools and information to local churches so that they could reach their neighborhood and parishioners.
Yet, Seed to Oaks and the Sojourn Network faced a unique problem. With social distancing measures in place, how could they enable the churches to disseminate valuable information and guidance?
Their solution was a “Neighboring” webinar. Dubbed the “Loving Your Neighbor and Engaging Your Community” webinar, this innovative method was employed. It enabled the groups to teach the church participants how to bring their voices and support to those around them, even when they could not physically carry the message in person.
Post-webinar, some key wins included:
- Increased excitement among the participants
- Completion of a survey for follow-up, feedback, and use in elevating strategies for the next webinar
- Discussion of new webinar topics
- Creation of a one-page outreach model for each Seed to Oaks program
- Led to a comprehensive booklet designed to guide churches on how and where they can make a substantial, immediate impact.
- Individual strategy sessions are being planned to help bridge the gap between individual needs and the church’s assets.
All-in-all, Seeds to Oaks and the Sojourn Network have given local churches the tools they need to reach their community even when physical connection isn’t possible. These skills and community connections will last long after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.
For more, contact Gregg McMullen, our Neighborhood 360º Manager at 502-791-6257, ex. 117 OR firstname.lastname@example.org.