Let’s face it, in March and April of this year, the best we could expect to deliver was very reactive. Unless you were already streaming services each weekend, it’s unlikely you had time to respond proactively to COVID. And, this summer, as states and countries started partially reopening, adding streaming via consumer platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo were considered big wins. Affordable, simple and effective.
But, the truth is, this isn’t likely to be a “one-and-done” scenario. We will likely be in the same COVID-lockdown state we are now one year from today, too. We don’t want to admit it to ourselves as we’re all ready to be “back to normal” but, look at the data. The truth is, we haven’t peaked, and we don’t yet have a solution that’s a guarantee. Sure, the vaccines are coming — I was a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial patient myself — but we all likely know people close to us who will be too nervous about taking it, and a recent poll from Gallup found that number to be in the range of 42%.
So, December 2021 will look a lot like December 2020 — partial lockdowns. Although, a lot more people will be will be “out and about” who’ve already been affected or are immunized. The rest of us will still be too afraid to travel, go to movies and dinner inside or visit our grandparents — the population most affected by all this.
YOU NEED A PLAN. It would be best if you considered what you’re going to do for 2021. And, that plan should be very proactive. Assume that nearly all our meetings and congregations will be online. Assume that Facebook isn’t private. Assume that YouTube-quality streaming isn’t good enough. Finally, assume that a higher production value is worth the investment. People are OK with a one-way stream today, but they will NOT be six months from now. People want networking, personal interaction, attentiveness and attention. So, your plan needs to include the humanization of streaming: human contact, interaction, discussions and fellowship. Online chat is good but not good enough.
Luckily, guess what solves this? Technology! Tech can, and in fact, does emulate real-world conversations. For example, most who fall in the Gen Z and millennial generations prefer texting and messaging to real-life phone calls. Why? Because, to them, it is the same thing. Their human connections, although virtual, are connections. They are real discussions. They are friendships, and they are relationships. Tech created the platforms they use every single day.
So, don’t stop at Facebook streaming or YouTube channels. Use and integrate social media. Think of this as the ultimate opportunity to create a connection to a younger audience by hiring them to run said social media, too! It’s no accident that so many new tech products have integrated social platforms into the operation of the products themselves. You should too.