Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions here.
CINCINNATI - The coronavirus is forcing churches to get creative to figure out how to worship and serve the community safely during the pandemic. Like every industry and organization right now, churches are adapting to a new normal and changing how they’ve done things for decades.
One of those making big changes is Crossroads Church. Leaders are already planning for some of the changes to be permanent.
“I think the most important thing we’ve done is we’ve tried to reach out and connect with anybody who needs help,” Senior Crossroads pastor Brian Tome said. “Whoever that is. We’re here for the community.”
One new feature on the church’s website is a chat box. It opens for every visitor and a real person is there to read those messages and and offer prayers, support or help.
Tome said the coronavirus pandemic has shown Crossroads it’s important to be proactive and not simply wait for people to ask for help.
“During this crisis we’ve flipped that on its head,” Tome said. “Now we’re contacting people. We’re proactively reaching out to people who are on our rolls saying, ‘Are you okay?’ Do you have enough supplies?'”
That’s another of the changes Tome said will be sticking around whenever we get to the other side of the pandemic.
“This is going to dent the average person’s psyche a lot,” Tome said. “A lot of people are just never going to want to go to a building again where there’s a lot of people. How do we do ministry in that environment?”
Crossroads Church is putting a lot of effort into building up its online worship services and videos – making them available on streaming apps like Roku and Amazon Firestick. The church had been posting videos before the pandemic, but they ramped up their efforts during the quarantine to stay connected with members who can’t see the sermons in person.
“What can we do in this new reality?” Tome said. “Because this is a new reality. What’s not an option is just stay at home and watch more Netflix. The Bible says we have to love our neighbor as ourself.”
Crossroads has also been collecting donations to help people in need, making masks and providing free childcare for healthcare workers.