A Pandemic Checklist

Looking for ways to connect? Rusty Rabon has some suggestions.

I asked Ailbe Brother Rusty Rabon to provide this listicle about how he and his church’s leaders have sought to overcome the COVID restrictions over the past several months. I don’t know anyone who has been as creative and effective as Rusty in this matter. If you like to contact Rusty about information on anything listed below, use the Contact tab here at the website. T. M. Moore

GRACE CHAPEL “PANDEMIC MINISTRY”
Rusty Rabon, Pastor

ALREADY IN PLACE

  • Church calling system
    • We were already communicating with everyone in the church regularly via telephone using ONE CALL NOW service
  • Church email and text messages
    • I keep an up-to-date address book and regularly send out email messages and text messages
      • Encouragement texts
      • Bible verse texts
      • Links to Zoom meetings texts
      • Encouragement, devotional, and informational emails
    • Began also using “MailChimp” service to send out group messages

MARCH

  • Began virtual worship via ZOOM on Sunday March 15
  • Began Wednesday “Gathering” for encouragement and prayer via ZOOM
  • Finished the last two weeks of a Sunday PM study on revival via ZOOM
  • Benefits of Zoom:
    • I was familiar with the Zoom platform
    • We could get started with it right away with no equipment purchases
      • Giving us time to research live streaming on our website
    • The phone option made it possible for people without computers / internet to participate
      • For those with computers / internet, there was no need for a Facebook or YouTube account
    • With everyone’s pictures on the screen, there was the possibility of after-worship “fellowship” and seeing one another.

APRIL thru MAY

  • Sunday AM worship each week via ZOOM
  • Bible study groups began meeting via ZOOM
    • All 5 adult Sunday School classes
  • Monday PM Men’s “Gathering”
  • Thursday PM Women’s “Gathering”
  • Children’s ministry through weekly email lesson plans to parents
    • Using video resources from RIGHT NOW MEDIA and KIDOLOGY
    • Children’s Ministry Team leader prepared weekly YouTube “booster” video
  • A few Middle / High School meetings on Thursdays
  • Began Monday thru Friday book reading via ZOOM
    • 12:00 Noon
    • Began with John Piper’s book, “Coronavirus and Christ”
    • Other books:
      • A Man Called Peter (Catherine Marshall)
      • Prayer (Tim Keller)
      • A Life of Listening (Leighton Ford)
      • The Grace Awakening (Chuck Swindoll)

JUNE

  • Resumed in-person worship on June 14
    • Only 1/3 of our indoor seating available
    • Radio broadcast of about 1 mile radius over FM frequency
      • Retired SCETV engineer in church secured analog transmitter for us
    • ZOOM continued primarily for call-in feature
    • Began streaming on website
      • Using vMix streaming software
      • Add stream to Facebook LIVE within a couple of weeks
    • Began Wednesday PM study on ethnic and racial reconciliation via ZOOM
      • Using resources from RIGHT NOW MEDIA, Q MEDIA, and other sources
    • Virtual Vacation Bible School
      • 5-day plan stretched into a 5-week plan
      • Lesson material and small, basic craft material provided for each child
      • Each child encouraged to invite one other child to join them in their home to do the VBS

JULY thru AUGUST

  • Weekly children’s ministry lesson plans with video support resumed
  • Began providing (mailing out) devotional resources for all age groups
    • Our Daily Bread
    • Lifeway Publishers devotionals for all ages
    • Other booklets
  • Began Wednesday PM study using ZOOM platform
    • Louie Giglio’s book GOLIATH MUST FALL
  • Resumed Wednesday PM “gathering” for fellowship and prayer on ZOOM
  • Added book reading for children 3 days per week via ZOOM and Facebook LIVE
    • Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at 6:30 PM
      • Began with “The Magician’s Nephew” by C. S. Lewis
    • Changed time of adult book reading to 8:30 PM Monday thru Friday
  • Began Sunday afternoon “family movie” through ZOOM
    • Showing children’s / family features using resources (DVD / online) that we already had access to

SEPTEMBER

  • Decision made by leadership to proceed with caution regarding further meetings at church
    • Monitor to see the effect of school starting on virus spread
  • Began “phone ministry” with everyone in the church calling one other person each week
    • Updated directory of all members and regular attenders distributed by email
    • Printed copies mailed to those without email

OCTOBER

  • Grace Chapel’s 80th anniversary on October 25
    • Hope to have an outdoor service
      • We have a very large activity building with four large doors on each side
      • Doors can be opened for “open air” meeting if weather is bad
      • Plenty of grass around the building for folks to sit on if weather is good
      • Plenty of room for “social distancing”
    • Hope to have “dinner on the ground”
      • Prepared boxed lunches and canned / bottled drinks

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