Being a Light in the Community
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14. Pop-up sacred space. In times like this, there is a need for people, even unbelievers, to process and pray in a dedicated sacred space. Most church buildings are closed to the public, but your church can take sacred space to the people in the form of a pop-up or temporary space outdoors.
This could be as simple as a canopy gazebo with a table, seating, devotional materials, and creative meditation points in a “park, on a riverbank, a parking lot, a front yard, or anywhere else people are permitted to go,” as author Mark Pierson suggests.
Learn more about creating a pop-up sacred space here.
15. Drive-thru church. If your community is allowing non-essential travel, you might set this up on the church property, but even in a quarantine situation, people can travel to the grocery store. If your state is under a “stay at home” order you might bring a small church experience to the grocery store parking lot or sidewalk.
Check with your local store manager, and if you can get permission to set up a station that observes social distancing but allows people to drive up and get prayer, a quick devotional, or even—with proper precautions—communion from sealed packets.
See details on how drive-thru church could work here.
16. Deliver encouraging messages to mailboxes. This far into the current crisis I haven’t yet received any encouraging notes or invitations from local churches, except my own, in my mailbox. This means the people in my neighborhood who do not attend church likely haven’t had a local congregation reach out to them.
If possible, consider sending volunteers to deliver a comforting note or postcard to mailboxes in your neighborhood. You might also include a bar of soap (handwashing is the most effective defense) or another small useful item. Have your delivery people use sterile gloves, and you might even note that on your message.
17. Neighborhood Caroling. Musicology expert Daniel Abraham says, "The concept of carol(ing) in its origins has actually nothing to do with Christmas," but was a way of wishing neighbors well in all seasons.
Most states allow walking outside in the neighborhood under the “stay at home rules,” so you might invite families in your congregation to visit their neighbors’ yards and sing to them using well-known worship songs, or even mainstream songs about love.
Your worship leader could make some suggestions, provide music and lyrics, and possibly hold a rehearsal over Zoom. This kind of act is way to provide a shot of instant joy to singers and listeners alike. Of course, you’ll want to limit this to just two or three songs. Songs that might work include, “Amazing Grace,” “All Creatures of Our God and King,” “Waymaker,” or even an African American Spiritual.
Mainstream songs might include “What the World Needs Now is Love” by Burt Bacharach, “Shower the people you love” by James Taylor, or “Don’t worry, be happy” Bobby McFerrin.
18. Family flash mobs. This is somewhat similar to family caroling, but will appeal more to the younger crowd. A “flash mob” is an event where people suddenly break into synchronized movement and song, to create sort of an instant musical.
Again, most states allow walking outside in the neighborhood under the “stay at home rules,” so if you stay close to home this could be a great way to minister hope and joy to the neighborhood. You might do this in your neighbor’s front yard, like caroling.
You are going for a surprise effect with a flash mob, so you might have your family participants start their performance with a somber acapella song, then suddenly pull out a boom box and break into something very catchy with corresponding synchronized moves.
You might try a song like “Get Down” by Audio Adrenaline or something humorous (especially for the times) like “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer. Working out the timing and moves will give your family something fun and challenging to do, thrill the neighbors, and give you an opportunity to share God’s love with them in a unique way.
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