How to Create Community When You Can’t Be Together

Even though we are physically distant, we can come together as a community. Here are some ideas to get you started!
7 min read

We’ve compiled ideas for connecting and creating community in your family, your church, and with the families you serve. These aren’t exhaustive lists of ideas, but we hope they will spark ideas for creating community and connections when we can’t be together.

Be sure to share ideas—including your original ideas—with your ministries and church families so that, even when we’re physically apart, we can be together! And, we encourage you to continue implementing these in the weeks, months, and years to come.

Remember how important it has been in this time to connect to one another, and keep it going as we move forward.

We aren’t sure what life will look like after a pandemic. But it will be different.

And we are praying for a new normal where we run with one another toward a good God who has been faithful in the messy, dark, and uncertain places.

Caring for Your Local Community and Your Church Community

It’s important that we take time during this crisis to care for the vulnerable people in our communities, while also taking care of our church families. We are used to coming together, not only to worship, but also to serve.

Whether we are serving one another, or our local communities, we can and should continue to help one another during our social isolation.

Community Food Donations

Food donation box with assortment
Image Credit: happy_lark/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Whether you collect items for your church’s food pantry, or in partnership with a local organization, it’s important to continue serving the most vulnerable people in our communities. Especially during this time when people are out of work and need to feed their families.

You can organize a drive-up/walk-up food pantry and limit physical interaction as much as possible. You can also drop off food supplies to those from your church who are at-risk. Just make sure you are sterilizing everything and using precautions!

To help you teach kids how to serve others, we’ve compiled a few resources below.

Phone Calls, Text Messages, and Video Chats

Even though you can’t personally reach out to every member of your congregation, your church can assign attendees to different people to check in on. When we are all checking in on one another, we are acting as the Body of Christ!

Especially when people live alone, these human connection points are critical when going through a crisis.

Young woman connecting with her family during quarantine
Image Credit: FilippoBacci/E+/Getty Images

Consider hosting group video chats—whether for fun chat or Bible study. You can keep interacting with one another even though you can’t be in the same room. We really encourage you to keep your Bible studies going!

Community Facebook Groups

Keep up with the livestreaming—yes! But also include these smaller groups, so that people can connect more personally and continue building relationship with one another.

Start Facebook groups within your church’s Facebook page so Sunday school classes, small groups, and other ministries can connect and communicate in a more personal way.

Send Notes and Cards

Let’s go “old school” and send one another mail! Have your kids make drawings and write notes that you can include with your card or note.

Caring for Your Neighbors

There are tons of ways we can care for those immediately around us—even while social distancing.

Community Lawn/Outdoor Care

We can serve those around us who are sick or vulnerable by doing things like yard work! This is a great way to help others without ever having to interact.

Can you imagine looking outside and seeing someone doing the work for you?! It’s a great way to warm our neighbors’ hearts and create community.

Grocery and Essential Pick-ups

Another great way to create community in your neighborhoods is to help with essential runs for others—if you are able. Every time I run a quick errand lately and see an elderly person, I so wish they had someone in their lives who could help—especially in this season.

Help where you can. Do what you can. We are all in this together!

Create Camaraderie

Some communities have participated in things like bear hunts and chalk drawing encouragement. For the bear hunts, people are putting stuffed bears or drawings of bears in their windows so kids can find the bear in the house as they walk by.

Teddy Bear sitting on winter window
Image Credit:Jasmin Merdan/Moment/Getty Images

And, many communities are encouraging people to write messages of hope on driveways and sidewalks. As people walk by your home, you can encourage them with the glimpse of sunshine you pour into their lives.

Caring for Your Family

Let’s all admit it. Whether we are working or not, having to homeschool our kids or not, or anything else on the huge list of life right now—we are tired.

It’s okay to be tired. The ideas below will hopefully help you and your family—and the families you serve—find space for fun with one another in this time.

You can also check out our post for helping overwhelmed parents in this season.

Camp Outs

Whether you like to camp indoors or outdoors, this is a great idea for weekend (or maybe even weekday) fun with your kids. Clear the living room—or wherever you have space—and have some imaginative fun!

Game Time

Play games together to bring some smiles during this uncertain time. Being cramped together all day long can be hard, so make the fun moments happen whenever possible. Some ideas for games are puzzles, board games, scavenger hunts, card games, or even charades!

There are even games you can play online with family members and friends who are outside of your home. Check out those apps and get to Zooming with your community!

Creative Play Time

This can be a huge challenge after day 40—or 60!—of isolation. But taking time to use your imagination with your family will help you ease your mind!

This could look like craft time, creating with play dough, having a dance off, building something together (building block fun!), or even playing dress up.

Encourage the big kids to play with the little kids and enjoy some laughter together!

Watch Movies

Take the time to snuggle up on the couch, in the bed, or even outside to watch a movie together! Maybe even have other families watch with you, then video chat about it later. It’ll be like you went together—even when apart.

Take Lots of Walks

We encourage you to get out of your house and take a walk! Please use all the safety precautions that are recommended, but some fresh air does the mind and body good.

We’ve even compiled a prayer walk resource that you can create inside or outside of your home!

Cook Together

Family making homemade pizza
Image Credit: Peter Cade/Stone/Getty Images

Spend time creating yummy food together! Bake tasty treats. Take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables to make amazing smoothies. Create new favorite family foods.

Study God’s Word and Pray Together

It’s really important during this stressful and vulnerable time that your kids see you lead in your home. It’s important that they see you actively rely on and have relationship with God.

Here are a few free resources you can use together in these circumstances if you are looking for lessons or devotions for your kids.

At-Home Events

A lot of children and teens are missing some big events because of this quarantine. We recommend that you try to make these moments as special as possible during this time.

We’ve seen a lot of community birthday party parades taking place, and it’s been awesome. Kids need to know that they are loved, yes, even in the midst of a broken world. You can collect video messages for birthdays too!

A lot of our teens are missing things like prom and graduation. Do what you can to create fun moments at home that might wink to these things. Maybe have your grad dress up and take photos!

Assure your kids that it’s okay to grieve what they’ve lost. But try to make special moments that might even end up overshadowing the events they missed out on! Family dates and dress up dinners could possibly help you do this too.

Community: Creating A New Normal

There are all kinds of apps you can use to connect through video. Some include Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, House Party, and Marco Pollo. And, there are tons great ideas for connecting and creating community with one another. Just do a quick google search and get ready for some inspiration!

We aren’t sure what life will look like after a pandemic. But it will be different. And we are praying for a new normal where we run with one another toward a good God who has been faithful in the messy, dark, and uncertain places.

We pray you are blessed and safe during this season.

May God’s love shine through you and your church family like never before!

A Pastor’s Playbook for Virtual Ministry

In nearly every circumstance of ministry, we have a good understanding of what needs to be done. In light of today’s events—our nation and world facing the pandemic and resulting closures—that is no longer true. We developed a guide to help us—and you—continue ministry over the next few months.
Free Guide

A Pastor’s Playbook for Virtual Ministry

In nearly every circumstance of ministry, we have a good understanding of what needs to be done. In light of today’s events—our nation and world facing the pandemic and resulting closures—that is no longer true. We developed a guide to help us—and you—continue ministry over the next few months.
Free Guide

A Pastor’s Playbook for Virtual Ministry

In nearly every circumstance of ministry, we have a good understanding of what needs to be done. In light of today’s events—our nation and world facing the pandemic and resulting closures—that is no longer true. We developed a guide to help us—and you—continue ministry over the next few months.
Free Guide
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  Updated on April 27, 2020

About the Author

  • Your Ministry Spark Team is made of ministry volunteers, leaders, and experts who work with David C Cook. We’re passionate about helping others know, love, and follow Jesus. And, we have a big heart for those who serve the kingdom—that’s you. Together, we can do this!

© 2020 David C Cook. All rights reserved.
© 2019 David C Cook. All rights reserved.
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