With everything moved online so quickly, there are those in our congregations who may not have had the chance to keep up. Here are some tips to help those who need it most right now.
One of the many challenges of this season in our churches is the vast array of abilities and access to technology. Whether it is a lack of hardware (devices and internet) or a lack of technological know-how, a large number of individuals in our churches will struggle to participate in online church services.
Something that you as a church can do is provide over the phone tech support for these brothers and sisters who are in this position.
For many of our members even a how-to video, or email will be hard to access and read, and often an overwhelming amount of how-to information creates a barrier rather than a help.
For many of you, your ministry team may be perfectly positioned to provide over the phone assistance and we’d love to help you to do so, as well as encourage you to recruit your congregations to do it also! This is a great chance for pastoral ministry, growth in intergenerational communication, community and edification in this dispersed season.
So with that here are some initial helpful suggestions on how to support people over the phone:
Step 1: Be really nice
This one is not very complicated and I’m sure most people are already on board, but particularly when getting younger people on to do this they need to be reminded about the different methods of communication and cultural differences that come with age.
Beginning with an attitude and willingness to go the extra mile to help is the best place to start.
Step 2: Use this as an opportunity for encouragement, edification & prayer
This step can not be overemphasised! What a blessing it is to have the know how and ability to serve the body by providing this help . Being able to support people in this way is a valuable way to also get to know and grow relationships in a time where people are so physically distant.
Step 3: Speak slowly and clearly and have a huge amount of patience.
The goal here is not efficiency but rather encouragement. You are helping them access livestream/zoom meetings so that they may be encouraged as well as encourage others. So make sure when you come up against frustrating road blocks in the conversation and setting up process to do the best you can to have patience.
Step 4: Don’t assume any prior knowledge
A top tip here is, rather than using computer jargon (that may feel very natural to you) use visual clues. Have whatever you are asking them to do open in front of you also so you can give them clear visual clues. For example, rather than saying, “see the mute button on the bottom left" say “you are looking for a small symbol on the bottom left of your screen that looks like a microphone which says mute under it, its’ on the far bottom left of your screen' (this example is Zoom).
Step 4: Be prepared to repeat yourself
Most people will need multiple sessions to go over multiple elements (or the same ones), so give yourself time, whether that is multiple sessions or for a single one, take your time. Perhaps use this as a way to maintain an ongoing relationship with whoever you're helping. Call them after church and ask them how they went and if there is anything they'd like help with for the next week.
Step 5: Be encouraged!
Once you have your low-tech brothers and sisters involved in your online meetings, church services and ongoing ministries your fellowship in Christ will only be improved! Having the whole body of church involved is such a great and beautiful thing, and that is church!
Let this time be a time where you are encouraged by your conversations, pray with them, ask them for prayer points, perhaps even share some scripture that has encouraged you.