In the midst of a rapidly changing environment the task of making disciples still remains. This is one strategic idea on how your church can continue to make disciples in the midst of a lock down.
This strategy is based on 3 assumptions. Firstly, how we love one another will be a witness to our commitment to Christ and his command to be people of love. Our friends and families and neighbours are watching how the local church responds. How we love those who belong to our community will speak loudly.
Secondly, things are changing rapidly, very rapidly. What works today may not work tomorrow. Any structures that are in place need to rapidly respond to the needs of now.
Thirdly, our care can’t rely on face to face but care needs to remain personal. Lock downs are real. Isolation is going to be a way of life for many and for many months. Relaying on getting together isn’t going to work. Communication needs to be personal but it can’t be face to face. Telephone, Messenger, WhatsApp etc are going to be the tools of staying in touch. Mass media is good for keeping people informed but is not helpful for personal care.
Small Span of Care
Using Exodus 18 as model I suggest assigning layers of Carers that have a manageable span of care. 1 Carer for 8-10 people is more than enough. For those looking after other Carers I suggest a span of care of 4-5.
If your church has 100 people it would like this: You would have 10 Level-1-Carers who would have 10 people to care for during this crisis. You would have 2 Level-2-Carers who would care for 5 Level-1-Carers each. You would directly care for the 2 Level-2-Carers.
If your church has 250 people it would like this: You would have 25 Level-1-Carers who would have 10 people to care for during this crisis. You would have 5 Level-2-Carers who would care for 5 Level-1-Carers each. You would directly care for the 5 Level-2-Carers.
If your church has 2000 people it would like this: You would have 200 Level-1-Carers who would have 10 people to care for during this crisis. You would have 50 Level-2-Carers who would care for 5 Level-1-Carers each. You would have 10 Level-3 Carers who would care for 5 Level-2 Carers each. You would directly care for the 10 Level-3-Carers.
By utilizing this strategy the span of care would not overwhelm an individual. Nobody would be required to care for more than 10 people. Ensuring that our people are well cared for and supported, over what seems to be an extended crisis, ensures that our churches emerge stronger and healthier.
Having set up a structure of care that is manageable it’s time to use it to maintain healthy discipleship.
Each Level-1-Carer would stay in regular contact with those in their care. Need determines the regularity of care. Some people are handling the crisis well and won’t need a lot of time and attention. Others will need more attention. Regular contact ensures that every member of your church is seen, heard and loved. DO NOT underestimate the power of just being there for people.
From a position of presence, of care and of love, move into deeper discipleship. How are they going with trusting Jesus through this? What is the Holy Spirit teaching them? Who are those in their circle of concern that are suffering – pray for them? Is there something they can do to support and love their neighbours?
In conclusion, we have an opportunity here to demonstrate the love of Christ to one another and to those far from God. Trying to do all the care yourself risks burning out and being overwhelmed. Setting up a structure of care, regardless of the size of your church, ensures that everyone who calls your church home, are seen, heard and loved.