March 15, 2020 seems like it was last year when, in fact, it was only 90 days ago.
I realize as I type this very sentence that it’s been even longer, 6 months exactly to this day, that I’ve last posted on this blog. WOW!
Nevertheless, we, the global population, were once as free as could be, to a certain extent, some 90+ days ago.
Restaurants and bars were open. In-person concerts, conferences, weddings, and funerals were a thing. Hotels, arenas and churches had attendees within 6 inches of another (if not closer). A very small percentage of the population wore masks. 40+ million people had jobs without a clue of what was to come.
And on one Friday night, March 12, 2020 to be exact, likely earlier for hot-spot outbreaks, our lives would drastically change forever as we were forced to “shelter in place” because of a global pandemic: COVID-19.
In the blink of an eye, houses of worship, restaurants and bars, recreational venues, and a long trailing list of similar entities were forced to close and lock their doors, not knowing when or if they would ever open again.
This very night, I was supporting the live streaming for a local church event for women. Little did I realize that that night would be the very last time any group of people would ever freely gather and assemble themselves that night, possibly ever again.
Over the last 12 weeks, the same room has held no more than 10-15 people. It no longer looks like a house of worship, but a pseudo modern day broadcast studio — as are likely tens of thousands of houses of worship globally.
Like a reasonable percentage of houses of worship, we were grateful to have graciously transitioned to streaming a high-quality online service experience weekly. Many took to the use of billboards to grow and promote their church, using a variety of domain names.
However, many houses of worship and businesses in general didn’t fare or do so well, if they even attempted to go online at all.
After all, we were only suppose to be shut down a few weeks, and then back to our normal way of living as things were before, right?
Well, the entire planet is actively living out this question with many not faring well, realizing their former way of life has been reduced to a far distant memory of remember when.
But there is hope on the horizon with many regions throughout the world starting to relax or expire ‘shelter in place’ orders all together, allowing many to pickup the shattered pieces of their former life to resume living to the best of their ability — assuming they escaped the death grip of COVID-19.
As things and people make their way forward to a “new” normal, houses of worship around the world also begin to unlock their doors with drastically reformed approaches and strategies to limit exposure, if any, to COVID-19.
No coffee bar or general sharing of food or food-like elements. No children’s and youth ministries in some cases. No congregating in large crowds, if any. Hand sanitizer machines every few feet. Spaced seating, and occupancy restrictions for chairs and bathrooms. Temp checks, and mandatory mask and glove wearing. Social distancing line markers. Exterior and interior doors propped. And this list goes on…
With so many rules and changes in place, it is no wonder that anyone will ever consider going anywhere and adhering to any or all of the measures put in place to protect everyone. But don’t get me started on the ‘it’s my right to’ soapbox.
Nevertheless, there are a large number of houses of worship moving to re-open their doors. I recently discovered a Facebook post of a house of worship that is making clever use of a domain name to ease its congregants back to onsite worship.
Focus Church, based in Raliegh, NC, not only dons a .church address as their primary digital presence, but they’re actively reaching their members and the world through their use of BackInChurch.com — address forwards to Focus.Church.
Talk about a great single use of a domain name to represent one of millions of houses of worship across the globe.
BackInChurch.com is simple, memorable, and a commonly used phrase, especially for this given moment in time. I can’t imagine what the type in traffic is like for this given domain or keyword phrase.
More importantly, I’m impressed by their visual design and use of the domain in collateral as well as the overall concept of what to expect when preparing to arrive back onsite — good overview video.
I don’t know or believe it makes sense for such domains to be developed as a primary digital presence, but these types of domains could serve as secondary marketing vehicles for both online and offline usage.
Discovering BackInChurch.com got me to thing about whether or not there are other domains to consider as all types of entities move towards opening or re-opening their doors.
As I let me mind run wild down the path of all the possibilities and variations, I jotted down some additional broad phrases for houses of worship to consider, if available for registration:
- Open For Church
- Open for worship
- Welcome back home
- Welcome to worship
- Worship is back
- Church is back
I also created a short list of phrases to consider prepending or appending to one’s primary brand (replace ? with respective church or entity name):
- Back to ?
- Back in ?
- Welcome ?
- Welcome to ?
- Welcome back to ?
- Return to ?
- ? Back open
- ? Now open
- ? Reopen
- ? Re-open (an option, but not highly recommended due to using hyphen)
I also attempted to think of broad phrases:
- We’re Back Open
- We Are Back Open
- Back Open
- Open Again
- Now Open
- Open For Business
- We’re Open Again
- We’re now open
- We are now open
- We are open again
- Join us onsite
- Doors back open
- We’re back
- We are back
There are likely many more clever options and witty combinations not listed and worth consideration by houses of worship and all other of entities as they work to develop a sound plan and strategy to re-open.
So, where do houses of worship, better yet, where do we all go from here?
That’s the millionaire, well, trillion dollar question we must actively live out and wait to be revealed in the coming days, weeks, months, years, and decades.
There will be, if not already, premature or false starts towards reopening across the globe as many wrestle with ethics and morality of which to desire more: human life or profit.
For now though, let us all work together across the globe to do our part to keep washing our hands, wearing masks, and staying home, when possible, in hopes of beating and eradicating COVID-19.
Stay safe and healthy. That’s all for now!