GBA COVID-19 Response

As we find ourselves in uncharted territory with all the precautions being taken surrounding the Corona Virus Pandemic, we have an amazing opportunity to share God’s love with our communities.  This may very well be one of the greatest opportunities for Gospel witness we have had since 9/11.  These weeks haven’t caught the Lord off-guard.  Now as we face the task of re-gathering our people to “in person” worship, there are many pieces of the puzzle to consider.  Our hope is that the resources below will help you make the best plan for your congregation.

Here are a few things to consider as you plan to re-gather your church:

Conversation about reopening churches with Gov. McMaster during the GBA Executive Committee Meeting on April 30, click here

South Carolina Baptist Convention’s article “7 Key Areas to Consider”, click here

It is impossible to overcommunicate.  Say what you need to say often and in every conceivable way.  Communicate clearly that you have worked to make things as safe as possible.  Communicating your plan will help with this. Communicate how you made your plan, who you consulted and how you came to key decisions. Communicate the precautions you are taking.

Do everything you say you are going to do in your plan.  If you say you are disinfecting between services, make sure you don’t miss a single doorknob in cleaning.  If you ask people to wear masks, be sure you wear yours.  Follow your plan.

Be flexible.  Make a plan but don’t be legalistic.  If 20% capacity is what you are shooting for, but you have a family or 10 people more come above that capacity, don’t turn them away.  Build that into your plan. If your capacity is 200, tell your people it is 200 but set up for 220. Plan for what you will do if you get overrun at a worship service.

Have a communication plan.  You may have to make last minute changes so you need to plan how you will communicate that to your church. It may be social media, email, text or just old-fashioned phone trees. Use systems already in place such as SS classes or small groups or deacon family ministry.  If you have 10 SS classes, it is easier to make 10 calls to the leaders and have them contact their class members than for you to call the whole church. Communicate where people should go to get last minute information and ask everyone to check before they leave the house.

Manage expectations early and often.  Help your people say no to physical contact.  There are some on one end of the spectrum who just can’t wait to hug someone or shake some hands and slap some backs. There are others who are very wary of this but have a hard time saying no.  Communicate that you don’t want people to shake hands or hug or stand close.  Help those who have a hard time saying no. Help your faithful senior adults, who are your most committed and faithful members, understand they don’t have to come if they are afraid.  It is not unspiritual or unfaithful for them to be cautious. Make sure no one feels pressure to come.  Leave that to the Holy Spirit to lead them.

Know your church’s DNA.  Do what works for you.  Don’t be influenced by what others are doing.  You know what works for your church. For some churches, the people would be happy taking directions from leadership, but some would rebel against such detailed controls. Stretch your people but don’t get away from who you are.

Use a survey to determine who would come and what level of change they will tolerate. This sample (click here) can help you collect responses from your congregation.  Use the word document to create a Google Form that can be shared via email, website, and/or social media.

Think about guests. You have been doing online church for weeks and may have picked up some followers who will want to visit the first Sunday back.  How are you going to welcome them or follow up on them?  Your mission of making disciples of all nations has not been discontinued because of coronavirus.  Keep focused on the mission.  GBA can help. We have some funds for you to request for creating access to the gospel in your community.  Download the Access Grant Request Form.  Use it to minister in your community.

Pray more.  We need the Lord and His guidance and anointing. Pray and engage your church in prayer.

Here are a few ideas about how you can minister to the people around you:

GBA has made available funds in the form of grants to our churches to assist you in any kind of ministry that will create access to the gospel in your community.

Click here to fill out the GBA Coronavirus Grant Request Form.

Start an email or text thread with your neighborhood offering to help anyone that needs it.  This could mean sharing extra groceries, meals, toilet paper, etc.

Write letters of encouragement.  It’s a lost form of communication in the midst of our “immediate” culture that could encourage another.

Set up calls – FaceTime, Skpe, or good old-fashioned phone calls.  People are at home.  Take time to catch up on their lives.  Listen well and be present with them.

Walk around your neighborhood.  Connect with God on behalf of your neighbors.  Enjoy the weather that reminds you He is in control.  Praise Him for His faithfulness and thank Him for how He has taken care of man’s greatest need at the cross.

Around the Corner’s tips for engaging your neighborhood: click here

Bless Every Home’s resources for reaching your neighbors: click here

Three Circle’s evangelic tool: click here

Here some resources available to help you manage church ministry during the pandemic:

March 26 Pastor’s Zoom Meeting Recording (COVID-19 Easter and Offerings): click here

Round Table Discussion Part 1 with Wayne Bray, Al Phillips, Travis Agnew, and Dick Lincoln: click here

Round Table Discussion Part 2: click here

Ministry Grid’s resources for how to Lead Your Church through a Pandemic: click here

Instructions from SCBC to use Facebook Live: click here

Dr. Rod Dempsey’s article about how to have Church at Home: click here

Dr. Travis Agnew’s blog “When a Mandated Quarantine Forces Ministry Innovation: click here

Dr. Ed Stetzer’s podcast on Coronavirus Ministry: click here

Vanderbloem’s COVID-19 Church Resources, click here

Intersect’s website, click here

Southeastern Seminary’s Center of Preaching and Pastoral Leadership, click here

Here are some resources concerning the Stimulus Bill:

Biblical Recorder’s article, “How Churches, Pastors are Elgible for Relief in the Stimulus Package, click here

Small Business Administrations’ resources on the Paycheck Protection Program, click here

ARC’s video Understanding the Stimulus Bill and Churches, click here

Christianity Today’s article on the CARES Act, click here

For the most accurate information about COVID-19:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention