Plumb Lines in a Pandemic, part 4
As church leaders begin to re-engage with in-person weekend services, I thought it might be fitting to revisit our Plumb Lines series, specifically applying those steady principles to our current uncertainty.
A plumb line is a construction tool used to determine whether or not something is perfectly upright. In our context, a plumb line is a short, sticky phrase intended to keep us aligned with our guest services values.
Make it personal.
Our fourth plumb line helps us move people from outsider to insider: we want our guests to feel like family from the very first visit. We do that by giving them appropriate, immediate, practical next steps. We do it by making it personal for the masses (via signage, traffic patterns, and helpful volunteers) and making it personal for the person (via taking time to hear their story, figuring out what their “point A” is, and making suggestions on a “point B”).
How does this apply as we re-gather?
Now more than ever, plumb line #4 must remain top of mind. Think about our last few months: the entire planet has had the pandemic in common. We’re all assaulted with the daily horrors of a 24 hour news cycle. We’re all experiencing some level of anxiety or fear or anger about the situation. We’re all wondering where the finish line is, and when (or if) we’ll ever get back to normal.
So your first few weeks back on campus can serve as an excellent opportunity to make it personal for those you serve. Yes, there are “personal for the masses” processes you’ll have to implement: social distancing reminders, heightened cleaning protocols, and requirements (i.e., face masks) that affect everyone.
But it’s the “personal for the person” opportunities that will give your team the chance to really shine. Challenge your volunteers – and yourself – to single out individuals to check in on each weekend. If everyone has been affected by the pandemic, then it’s appropriate to ask the type of effect it’s had on your guest: “How are you doing?” “What has this meant for your job?” “How can I specifically pray for you…right now?”
And as your guest lays out their problems…offer solutions. If you can, give them an appropriate, immediate, practical next step: information about virtual groups. An introduction to a new friend. An invitation to connect later that week.
We all know what it means to us when someone takes time out of their day to ask about our personal situation and to offer to come alongside us to help. This current crisis gives us an opportunity to do the same.