The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent shift of most churches to online has highlighted an old truism – comfort matters! As churches begin to move back into some variation of in-person worship it is important to not lose sight of this component. New tech advancements have made it easier than ever for viewers to engage in an environment where they are most comfortable. For every person in the car watching drive in worship, there is another person at home who prefers sitting on their couch.
Comfort may also entail the mental aspect of engaging. While there are a number of positives with an in-person experience, some may not be comfortable around others. Some days, people (particularly introverts) just want to be by themselves and not have to engage with others. Comfort may exist by being home alone or with close family, not by being in a large congregation.
The message of a church is best heard when congregants are in a comfortable situation to hear the message. As a church, the focus should be on how to deliver in the wide range of comfortable environments that people enjoy. Recognizing this, we have seen a number of ways to help ensure the message of your church can come across.
First tip is not overthink the arrangements. When kept simple, people find ways to make themselves comfortable. As an example, if you are going to have an outdoor worship, recommend people bring their own chairs instead of trying to figure out how to make it all happen. Once a 10-foot distance is known to be kept, people quickly group with the right spacing between them.
Another tip is to recognize that everyone’s comfort level is different. It is OK to preach to someone on their couch in the same manner as someone in a wooden pew. The message is the same, no need to change the way it is delivered to highlight the arrangements people are in.
A third tip is to recognize that there are different times to relay the message. Wednesday night, Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning – all can be the perfect time to hear a sermon. We now live in an on-demand world. Ensuring the message can be consumed in comfort on demand will impact the most people in your congregational flock.
It can be difficult to tie in comfort and accessibility into new forms of worship but it needs to be kept at the front of mind as churches try out new strategies for gathering in person.