Partnership Development and The Coronavirus: Part 2

Many of you are faced with questions as to what should I do during this early time of the coronavirus. From the workers I connect with weekly, I’ve heard everything from “I’ve been having appointments this week on Zoom and they have been great”, to “we don’t know if best to wait and not ask for appointments this early into the pandemic.” I wanted to write a synopsis of what I have been thinking through this past week as we are navigating together. Here’s an update on some of thoughts (or just think of it as an expansion) since last week when I wrote Partnership Development and the Coronavirus Part 1:

1. This is not the time to do nothing! This is a great time to:

  • Build your online presence. Everyone is online right now! Do you have a Facebook group? Set it up! Do you have Instagram or TikTok? (guys, I don’t have a TikTok yet but I’m thinking about it) Set it up! Have you tried FacebookLive? Go for it.
  • Reach out to existing partners or just friends and family and ask how they are doing, and be an encouragement. Many of them will remember the times you reached out without asking for anything. Look for opportunities to serve and stay ministry minded:
    • send postcards (with washed hands)
    • send texts
    • send cards from your kids (with washed hands)
    • send videos from your kids
    • put a bag of coffee or a chocolate bar or something from a small business on their doorstep if local. if you don’t want to spend money go pick some flowers…there will be some in the next several weeks!
    • update your team with a newsletter

2. When thinking of continuing to reach out to individuals here are some thoughts:

  • It’s not time to pause completely or indefinitely. God still called you to ministry and that hasn’t changed because there is a pandemic. People need ministers now more than ever. It may be time to be sensitive and loving while thinking through your asks, and it may not be the right time to ask for some people in your contact list, but that doesn’t mean that your asks need to come to a full stop.
  • When going through your list it may not be business as usual. Use a mix of prayer, discernment, and common sense while thinking of who to reach out to in the next 2 weeks (or more). Do your homework and think critically: Are they a small business owner? (you may table reaching out to them for the time being) Are they someone you would have reached out to for a distance video call anyhow? Are they ministry minded?
  • When you do ask for a social distance video appointment with an individual here’s some specific thoughts on how to proceed:
    • Always start your phone call with 3 questions: “Hey, how are you doing? How are you doing in the wake of coronavirus? How can I be praying for you?” 
      • Take your time with their response and really listen with attuned ears. Ask follow up questions and don’t be afraid to get into the weeds. Let this be a ministry moment.
    • After you have listened, tailor your response to asking for a video appointment depending on their answer:
      • OPTION A: They said they are “fine” (sheltered in place / social distancing / but fine). If they say this you respond with:

“That’s great. I know it’s been a challenge and if their are any prayer needs that stand out let us know. We are calling because we feel our call to ministry now more than ever (to X – maybe a brief summary of your ministry assignment is needed) and are still raising up a team of financial and prayer support partners. You definitely came to mind as someone we would like to be a part of that. Realizing that this is a crazy time, we are wondering if we could schedule a video call sometime this week or next to tell you more about our ministry vision and goals and see if you could join some aspect of our team?” (proceed from there…)

      • OPTION B: They said they are struggling (financially, emotionally, etc.). If they say this respond with:

“We will absolutely be praying with you during this time with your prayer needs (insert here several of the things they mentioned that are challenging). Here in a minute if it’s cool we would love to pray with you, and would love to maybe follow up with a text or phone call in the next couple of weeks just to see how it’s going. We really want to pray with you. We were originally calling because we are feeling our ministry call now more than ever (to X – maybe a brief summary is needed), but let’s table that for now because there are so many things going on. Maybe at some point in a couple of months we could tell you more about that if that’s okay? (response) For now let’s pray…” 

    • If you are responding to OPTION B it may feel inappropriate to let them know about your ministry and why you were originally calling, though I think in a lot of circumstances that would be fine. Stay sensitive and use discernment.
    • Write scripts out for OPTION A and OPTION B and don’t be afraid to use them on live phone calls.
    • Stay organized. If you say you will reach out again, actually reach out again. If you say you’ll be praying, you need to actually pray.
    • Check in with your coach (or if you don’t have one, reach out to veterans within your organization or others who are also support raising that you trust) on a regular basis. If you are running into nuanced situations, ask for thoughts.

3. When reaching out to churches here are some thoughts:

  • If you are reaching out to a pastor during this time, always start by asking the pastor “Hey, how are you and your congregation doing during COVID-19? What are some things we can be praying with you about?” 
  • Same conversation applies with OPTION A and OPTION B above, just tailor it to the church. Stay sensitive. Realize now may not be the time to ask them for anything but prayer requests and that’s fine.
  • Do your homework. Does the church have a strong online presence? Does it look like they haven’t got everything online yet? Great places to check are the church’s website, social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram, etc. If it looks like the church hasn’t posted several services online yet you may want to wait until it looks like they have made progress.
  • A lot of churches have seen reductions in their offerings and now may not be the best time to reach out to some churches, and that’s okay!
  • If you are close to a church(es) that you live near, ask if they need help with food distribution or assistance in setting up their on-line services (if you already have this expertise).
  • Stay sensitive and ministry minded. Always ask the pastor what works best for them and if now is a good time.

I hope some of these tips help! In closing, remember you are called and that God is still on the throne! You’ve got this. Go back and read the scriptures and stay spiritually healthy during this time. – JF 

2 thoughts on “Partnership Development and The Coronavirus: Part 2

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