While the country discusses how to re-enter into businesses and other public spaces, Dr. Larry Anderson points to ten “areas” churches should consider before opening their churches again.
#1: Thou Shall Not Touch –
We know we can’t hug and shake hands anymore, but how do we now:
- Serve Communion?
- Perform baptism?
- Collect offering?
#2: Thou Shall Not Huddle –
We know we have to practice social distancing, but how do we now:
- Have café time?
- Greet members and visitors?
- Have classes?
- Have the choir sing?
#3: Thou Shall Be My Witnesses –
“In Jerusalem in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth” … but how do we now:
- Continue the online ministry to those who cannot attend in person?
- Increase bandwidth in your building to support a streaming service?
- Use the online Zoom and webinars for small group and other discipleship classes?
#4: Thou Shall Dress Appropriately –
But what does that mean now?
- Are we asking members to wear gloves and masks to worship?
- Are we prepared to supply those who attend with the proper PPE to enjoy services?
#5: Thou Shall Not Put the Lord Your God to the Test –
But how do we now:
- Ask seniors and those with immune deficiency to stay home, at least initially, for their safety?
- Ask those who are most at risk in their daily lives to the virus to stay home for others’ safety?
- Keep all gatherings, besides worship, as out-of-church digital gatherings?
#6: Thou Shall Increase Thy Territory –
But how do you do that with social distancing?
- Do we start additional services to continue social distancing?
- Do we remove chairs or skip pews to continue social distancing?
- Do we space chairs out and only allow same households to sit together?
- Do we place marks throughout the sanctuary to relegate spacing in the building?
#7: Thou Shall Bring All the Tithes into the Storehouse –
But do we have to do that in person?
- Can we use digital giving through websites, tithe.ly or other non-money transferring processes?
- For non-digital givers, can we suggest checks as the first option, which touch less hands, then cash?
- Can we prepare for a leaner budget based on unemployment and the slow return of members?
#8: Thou Shall Not Hinder the Little Children from Coming to the Lord –
But how do you do children’s ministry in this new environment?
- Can you monitor a child’s social distancing and safety and is it wise to have in-person classes?
- Should you keep children’s classes online since children typically are the first to ignore guidelines?
- Are you prepared to not pass out items to children, or through children, and ask them to bring their own writing materials and workbooks, or only do classes with verbal interactions?
#9: Thou Shall Cleanse Thyself of all Uncleanliness –
What will we do to ensure safe, sanitary practices?
- Will we establish sanitation stations throughout the church?
- Will we establish “no-touch” options, including faucets and towel dispensers, in restrooms?
- Will we establish motion-detecting lights and doors, where possible?
- Will we keep doors open, where possible?
- Will we equip and empower a disinfecting team and routine to fully sanitize the building between services?
#10: Thou House Must Be a House of Prayer –
- We can do all we can but we must totally surrender our will to the Lord.
- Only open the building when you have discerned God’s voice (and wisdom) for safe return.