Your Church & COVID-19

3 Types of Data Pastors Need for Crisis Response

Webinar Notes & Quotes

“Churches are about the business of personal growth, whether that’s helping people grow spiritually, or grow in their marriages, their relationships, their finances, their recovery, their career, whatever that might be.” -Brad Hill

“Today is about taking capabilities that we’ve really worked hard to build and then how do we apply them in a moment like we’re in to know the people in my community, be able to see my messaging really tailored to the people that need to hear it, and then how do I measure how people are really doing.” – Brad Hill

Poll: What is the greatest priority for your church this week?

  • Pastors wrestling with communications, am I trying to give a message of hope right now or acknowledge fear and grief and anxiety right now?
  • Churches moving from a reactionary point to how do I communicate about this crisis?
  • Poll results of those attending webinar: Nearly half (47%) said, “Communicating a message of faith and hope to people in the middle of the crisis”

Brad noted weekly national results indicated similar findings with 55% for that category.

The answer to the poll question is going to shift over time.

“We think that the anatomy of this whole crisis is moving so fast and changes so rapidly that taking this pulse, taking this snapshot once a week is going to help us all” because “there’s solace in numbers” – Brad Hill

3 Types of Data that Pastors Need For Crisis Response

1. How are you doing as a leader? 

“The most important role right now of a leader is to project a calm presence.” – Brad Hill

“The role of a senior leader in a crisis is to define reality and provide hope.” – Brad Hill

Let’s ground it in reality but also help our people understand that we’re going to move through this and move forward If I need to project a calm presence (hopefully authentic and from the Lord), the idea of information and data is an interesting foundation/layer of that.

“What is some information about your people that you don’t have but you wish you did?”- Brad Hill

Daunting not even knowing what’s happening in the future but also the present; how are my people right now? 

What are the things that data speaks into? We like to ground this in the word:

  • Galatians 6:2
  • Matthew 25:42-45
  • Proverbs 27:23

Knowing your people is a big deal and understanding where people are at should be high on your radar as leaders

It starts with you, as a leader. How are you doing? This is not to be glossed over.

“The single greatest limiting factor of any organization is the heart of the leader.” – Brad Hill

Who is checking on you? Who is looking after you? Who is keeping you accountable? Who is looking out for your soul right now?

2. How is your team? 

How are your lay leaders? How is your staff doing?

Fearful, maybe seeing others laid off.

Getting a pulse on your leaders is a supercritical job as a pastor so that your team can be hands and feet as well.

3. How are your people doing?

Your people doesn’t just mean your congregation or flock

Thinking not just about your congregation, but about your backyard, your neighbourhood, and your community

Coronavirus having a similar effect on church attendance as 9/11 did; it’s just happening in a digital space because people can’t get to the church buildings right now

5 Dimensions for Checking In 

  • Spiritually // How’s your faith? Are you in the Word, praying, practicing the spiritual disciplines?
  • Relationships // How’s your marriage? How are your kids? Are you giving your family time?
  • Vocation/Job // “What would it mean if you knew the percentage of people in your church’s congregation who have had their jobs affected?” – Brad
  • Financial // What are your needs? How many months do you have?
  • Health // Physical and mental health, are you worried? Are you optimistic about the future? How are you feeling?

All things that pastors and churches care deeply about.

If you knew all five of these dimensions about yourself, about your staff and leaders, and about your congregation it would help us all make good decisions about leading

Question and Answer

How do we check in with ourselves, our team, and our people? (See Gloo’s resources below)

Weekly Pastor Poll // Aggregating results of polls nationally, probably going to start segmenting the results so you can see other churches my size, in my denomination, in my network, etc.

Podcast // Launching today (March 23) and will draw from the poll

Weekly check-ins // Set of surveys and assessments created in the last couple weeks with a team of experts in assessment research designed to get at those 5 dimensions of well-being:

  • Deploy by email, text, QR codes on-screen during Sunday service/live stream, in virtual small groups 
  • Check-ins for community and leaders
  • FAQs, scripts for pastors, and can add custom questions

Community Connect // Coming soon!

Curches turning towards outwards service where they create a profile to list ways they can serve the community’s needs. 

Map available for every town (primarily US-based), you can plug in a need and see which churches can serve.


Most pastors maybe thinking about where the data could have a profound effect on how we minister and ultimately drive some of the content we are creating.

We will see the power of that when we move from digital back into real life 

“Digitization is here.” -Brad Hill

This may be another permanent shift of leaders thinking differently about where they put energy and where they prioritize ministry.

Culture of assessment, rather than just taking a snapshot.

“We have a difficulty because we’re not with our people, but we have capabilities to know actually maybe know more about our people than we could before.” – Brad Hill

Privacy issue – high level of anxiety around people providing personal information

“All ministry is built on trust. If that trust goes away, we don’t have ministry… The battlefield of trust is being played out largely in a digital/online genre.” – Brad Hil

What does this cost?

All these resources are free!

The way Gloo makes money is we work with partners publishers networks etc. by using the aggregated data to help understand what topics are important what’s bubbling, what’s working?

“There is no excuse to operate as a leader in this moment on gut feel. There’s too many great ways to know how your people and community are.” – Brad Hill

Data informed ministry, not data-driven ministry (with the Holy Spirit ultimately driving everything!)

Best format/best practice for gathering information from people? 

Making this part of your rhythm in the weekend services/experience—tremendous response rates when you do it in the weekend service (completion rates north of 85-90%)

Email, text, on social media, distributing it through campus leaders or small groups, QR code (85% of their congregation used it instead of the link)

Why would I as an individual want to do a weekly pastor check-in? How would my leadership and ministry benefit from that?

You as a leader taking that is a great time to take a breath and work on yourself for a minute

“The act of answering questions conjures things up in us and re-centers us on what is important.” – Brad Hill

Will start to give you some solace that you’re not alone in this

How to track with Gloo

Brad’s Email: [email protected]

Thank You to This Podcast’s Sponsor: HarperCollins Publishers

Grab Liquid Church: 6 Powerful Currents to Saturate Your City for Christ and read it with your team. It’s an inspiring & practical guide for reaching people in a post-Christian culture.

Pick-up your copy and enjoy the other free resources for your church at

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.