In-person attendance has been challenging for all of us during this pandemic. Many guidelines have to be maintained and implemented to guarantee the safety of everyone who chooses to attend our services in-person. But sometimes, people forget to follow these protocols or about considering others during an in-person event, therefore compromising the health and risking others’ welfare.
So in these situations, how do we encourage and remind attendees of considering others during an in-person event? Here are some tips that could help you in your next church service or gathering.
Constant Reminders from the Pastor
If you want to be strict with your regulations, it all has to start with your pastor. Some churches have insisted on compliance with the safety protocols. According to an experience Katie Parks Skerpon shared in a comment on our FB group, “Our pastor has stated publicly that he will pause the service until everyone present is in compliance with our procedures – which includes distancing and a mask covering both nose and mouth.” This gives your church members the sense that you require them to follow the rules and ask for their cooperation.
You could also incorporate Bible scriptures in your reminders. Casey Jones told us her insights. “As the Lead Pastor, I lead this fight. I showed scripturally that we stand between the need to attend (Hebrews 10:25) and obey the authorities above us (Romans 13).”, he said while reminding us that refusing to cooperate and continue to argue about this matter is beneath us Christians because mission and unity for the Lord trump anything that divides us.
Whenever there are arguments regarding the matter, remember to handle it discreetly and maintain respect. Make it clear that guidelines are there to be followed and not violated. Pastors must take the lead by implementing these policies, and surely the support from members will follow.
Assign a Host/Greeter
Another effective way to remind church-goers about considering others during an in-person event is by assigning a host or greeter to welcome their attendees at the entrance, all the while politely informing them of the protocols—wearing their masks, checking their temperature, making sure they sanitize, maintain social distancing, and more. This ensures that they comply with the rules before entering the building.
These hosts could also escort the guests to where they should sit, a thing Michelle Stockton-Traylor told us regarding what they do in their church. “…a Host (greeter) seats them like a restaurant. The hosts are trained how far apart people should sit; leave 3 empty chairs.” and so far, this has worked for them. Having a designated person or team to usher and guarantee that everyone complies with the regulations will help with the constant reminder for attendees to be considerate to other people.
Display “caring” messages and other signs
Putting up eye-catching signs and messages for attendees as reminders for safety guidelines can also be an effective way to advise and emphasize to show everyone that they should be mindful of other people. A sample of this is from The Wisconsin Council of Churches, launching an engaging message with their campaign entitled #LoveYourNeighborWearAMask.
Photo from The Wisconsin Council of Churches. Retrieved from https://www.wichurches.org/2020/06/17/love-your-neighbor-wear-a-mask/
This also encourages members to inspire others on social media to consider others, which widens the campaign’s reach and impact.
Besides these enticing messages, churches could also put signs in their actual building that enforces safety protocols. “(Putting) Signs, floor arrows, seat signage, reminders from the front… For our outdoor services, we bought inflatable pool noodles that are six feet long, and our welcome team winsomely uses those to seat people an appropriate distance apart,” Karen Schmitt Rummel shares how they do it in their church. You could also get shirts for your team that say “Thank you for wearing a mask” and other reminders in an exact bold text, which serves as a gentle yet firm reminder for your congregation. Display anything that could get your message across to them. Just remember to remain kind and not show aggressiveness.
Christianity demands we care for others. Considering othering during an in-person event is a sign of love for neighbors. Implementing these regulations should come from a place of non-judgment, empathy, and caring. We need to tailor our communication to get our message across without disregarding them as an individual. This is when our communications will work.