People around the world are still being affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) as we write this. It feels so big and leaves so many of us wondering, “How can I help during the coronavirus crisis?” Maybe you want to serve others, but you just don’t know how. Here’s some good news to remember: It’s not on you to save everyone. But we all can serve someone. And serving others around us is always one of the primary ways God works in us and through us.
Here’s something many of us need to hear right now: One of the best ways you can serve others is by protecting them. How can you do that? By following the safety precautions outlined by the CDC and other local health and governmental officials where you live. Following protocol from doctors and leaders doesn’t mean you’re living in fear; it means you’re living wisely.
Does staying safe mean you holing up and just wait for the worst to pass? Not at all! You can follow safety guidelines and serve others at the same time. You can prepare to meet your family’s needs and generously give to others to meet theirs. These things aren’t at odds with one another. In fact, we live in a time when there are plenty of opportunities to serve others digitally, emotionally, and spiritually while continuing to practice social distancing. To help, we’ve listed below 30+ ways for you to safely serve others during the coronavirus.
Remember: God does the saving, but He allows us to be a part of the serving (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). God put you on your street, in your apartment, in your unique situation for a reason. Look around you. Who lives near you? How might you help your neighbors, your LifeGroup, or your specific people? Leverage where you live to share God’s love.
So instead of worrying about everything, we can spend time praying about everything. And instead of being overwhelmed by the great need, we can think of ways we can meet a need. (P.S. Prayer changes things. Check out what Pastor Craig says about that.)
This is a unique opportunity for the Church (that’s everyone who follows Jesus) to be the Church. This is a time for us to love God by loving others. This is an opportunity for us to be a light in the darkness.
So, yes, we’re going to serve others. But we’re going to do it safely, knowing that one of the best things we can do is protect others and pray for others. And sometimes, God calls us to be an answer to the prayers we pray.
30+ Safe Ways We Can Serve Others
During this time of uncertainty, people will rely on social media to stay connected even more than they do normally. Consider yourself a digital hope spreader and leverage your social media as a place to invite people to Church Online and share the hope of Jesus.
- If you are in an in-person LifeGroup, consider how you can most safely meet together. If you would prefer to meet online, use video conference solutions like Zoom, Google Hangouts, or whatever platform will work best for your group.
- Join your neighborhood and community NextDoor app, Facebook group, and/or other online groups. Then, be a voice of hope whenever you post.
- Share Life.Church Worship with your friends and family who’re looking for peace right now.
- Go learn about becoming a social media influencer to help us spread hope!
- If you don’t currently have a LifeGroup, you can join or even start one entirely online. Consider starting an online group for anyone in your circle of influence. Here are some ideas:
- Start an online parents support group for parents trying to figure out distance learning at home. Or just for parents trying to survive!
- Start an online support group for those impacted by job loss. Post updated job openings when available.
- Start an online storytime group every week for the kids in your neighborhood and invite a different family to host it each week.
- Start an online group to talk about the truth and hope in a binge-worthy TV show.
- Start a closed social media group for people you get to know in your neighborhood as a means of connecting people with each other.
- Start an online prayer group which prays for different groups of people in the community daily. You could pray for emergency responders, grocery store staff, government leaders, health care workers, etc. You can pray over video chats, online, or using YouVersion’s Prayer feature.
- Lead an online Bible study with neighbors and friends. One option is to use Plans With Friends in the YouVersion Bible App.
- Start an online group with content for women, blended families, guys, or for getting to know each other better.
- Offer virtual/video tutoring for neighborhood families.
- Teach a virtual cooking class and share the joy of coming around the table.
- Invite someone to church with you, if it’s safe to do so. If you can’t meet in-person, invite them to watch Church Online with you instead. Guess what? Kids and families can do this too! You can invite kids (from 2-year-olds through 6th grade) to watch LifeKids Online with you. Switch has been doing a ton of online meetups for students in 6th-12th grade, too!
- If you’re a small group leader for students or kids, reach out to their parents and see if you can schedule a time to call or video chat with their child. You could also text a video to a parent to share with their kids.
Meet Physical Needs
Make sure you’re following all guidelines recommended by the CDC and your local health authorities. Practice excellent hygiene, wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching items or use gloves if you’re delivering items to someone.
- Arrange for meals to be delivered or picked up for the elderly or sick in your neighborhood.
- Deliver groceries to an elderly neighbor’s doorstep.
- Give a DoorDash or Grubhub gift card to a family in need.
- Partner with local food pantries, Meals on Wheels, or other local organizations to deliver meals to the elderly in your neighborhood.
- Assist a neighborhood family with daily tasks like grocery shopping or running errands. You could also purchase a grocery delivery service for elderly, sick, or immunocompromised people in your neighborhood.
- Clean out your closet and donate to a local organization that’s asking for donations.
- Want to support local businesses in a really safe way? Consider ordering online, or purchasing gift cards that you can use at a later date.
- Another way you can help meet physical needs is through your generosity. You can give financially directly to friends, family, and neighbors in need. And when you give to Life.Church, you’re helping churches around the world meet digitally through the free Church Online platform, you’re partnering with us to continue to be the local church, and you’re supporting local and global mission partners who are helping people in this crisis and others.
Spread Hope and Be Neighborly
- Give a huge smile and warm thank you to every single person you see who’s still showing up to work at grocery stores, food delivery, government, safety, health care, and other essential jobs.
- Learn people’s names and then ask to pray short blessings for your cashiers, drive-through helpers, and delivery workers. Something like this: God, You’re good even when life is hard. I pray You’ll bless [Name] with surprising peace, hope, protection, financial provision, and especially with Your presence today. Amen.
- Are you gifted musically? Put on a front-porch concert for neighbors to listen to from their driveways and porches.
- Organize a neighborhood, drive-by, driveway chalk coloring contest.
- Mow a neighbor’s lawn.
- Get creative finding ways to spend more time on your porch, driveway, or in your front yard where you can wave to neighbors and ask them how they’re doing: Eat out front, grill out front, walk out front, let kids play out front, wash your car out front, etc.
- Host a drive-up movie night in your neighborhood.
- Host a virtual neighborhood game night.
- Write encouraging statements and Scriptures on sidewalks.
- Put up encouraging signs in your front yard, inviting people to church or sharing a Scripture.
- Send an encouraging text or email to a family member, friend, neighbor, or someone God brings to your mind. If you can’t think of anyone, ask God for names.
- Call someone you know and offer to pray with them over the phone. Or simply use the time to catch up and have a conversation.
- Start a Bible Plan With Friends in the YouVersion Bible App, and invite anyone on your social media to join you with a public link.
Take Pastor Craig’s Not Afraid Challenge
Find out more about this challenge from Pastor Craig’s Midweek Worship Service, Attitude Is Everything.
- Pray with someone you’ve never prayed with before. Not sure where to start? Check out this guide on prayer to help.
- Give to someone in need.
- Serve someone.
- Encourage someone who is hurting.
- Post something about your faith. Not sure what to share? Share something from Life.Church, Pastor Craig, or YouVersion.
- Invite someone to Church Online. You can even find great photos to post here.
- Pray for those outside of your normal circle.
Interested in telling others about the Not Afraid Challenge? Download images you can share on social media here.
Find and Share Hope-Filled Resources
Looking for ways to encourage others but aren’t sure where to start? Here’s a curated list of resources to help you get started:
- What Can Christians Do During the Coronavirus?
- Pastor Craig Groeschel: What Psalm 34:4 Has to Say About Being Freed From Fears
- How to Talk to Your Kids About the Coronavirus
- Special Needs Families and Quarantine: Nine Tips to Fight Regression and Thrive Anyway
- 18 Easy, Kid-Friendly Ideas and Activities to Do at Home
- Looking for Hope? Here Are a Few Stories of the Church Making a Difference
- My Graduation Got Canceled: Here’s What I’m Learning About Handling Disappointment
- Living by Yourself? You Can Still Find Hope During the Coronavirus
- Not Afraid: How Christians Can Respond to Crises
It’s possible to safely serve others during the coronavirus pandemic. Try out these tips or come up with your own ways to be neighborly and to spread hope. And if you’re in need of a little hope yourself, remember Paul’s words:
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 MSG