Coronavirus and Your Church

By Thom S. Rainer

At the time of this article, we really have no idea if coronavirus will become a pandemic or if we have it under control. Though I tend to be optimistic about it, there are certainly perspectives on both sides of this issue.

You who are leaders in churches, though, need to begin thinking about how your church should respond right now rather than later. By the way, I am grateful to the community of Church Answers. Many in our community are having very helpful conversations about this issue even as I write this article.

Though my suggestions are not comprehensive, I do think they provide solid guidelines to follow at this very moment.

  • Focus on prayer instead of panic. Remind your congregation that God is in control. Encourage them to pray for the cessation of the disease. Ask them to pray for the victims and their families. Encourage them to pray for the gospel to go forth boldly in the midst of this trial.
  • Develop a communication plan. For example, if someone in your church or community is stricken with coronavirus, be prepared to respond. Will you have services or not? If you do not have services, how long will this period be? How can people remain connected to your church?
  • Be prepared to offer digital worship services and Bible studies. If your church does not offer the streaming of services on the church website, Facebook live, or some other means, now is the time to move in that direction. Make certain you can have digital services even if you can’t gather for a season.
  • Aggressively encourage people to use digital giving. If you can’t gather and pass the offering plate or bucket, you need to be prepared to offer mechanisms for your members to give. You should be making this move regardless of coronavirus. It certainly helps giving when attendance is lower.
  • Develop a plan to help church members and community members. If the situation does worsen, there will be people in your area in need of help and in need of basic supplies. How will your church respond? 
  • Consider current church practices that might be harmful for spreading coronavirus or other diseases. Though my bias against it is obvious, now is the time to consider bringing the traditional “meet and greet” to an end. In some of your churches, you might consider other changes. I was in a church a few years ago that shared a common cup. No way.

I remain more hopeful than panicked about coronavirus. Still, there is no reason for churches to be unprepared. Prepare for the worst and pray for the best.

Posted on March 2, 2020

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • Robert Couey says on

    In our hyper protectve, politically correct world, where hospitals open, risking sickness in order to save physical life, our churches close out of fear someone may get sick while meeting eternal healing needs. Atheists, LGBTQ activistists, Woke churches, transgender library readings, proactively assert their anarchy into our education system and onto our children; while the lack of Christian stewardship of our Government and nation God gave tells the story of lack of conviction and courage in much of todays Christian community. Anti God forces boldly attempt to overtake our society and government, reinforced by our public education system, while churches close, and Christians remain silent, we decide streaming is good enough. So why do we ask why our youth are leaving the Church and the Church is dropping in numbers. Maybe it is because youth see Christ and the Bible is just not worth the battle. We have forgotten Onward Christian Soldiers.

  • WOW! Out of all the good and solid information in Thom’s post, the majority of you guys are arguing about the Common cup vs. individual communion??
    Same old petty mess.
    “Gag at a gnat and swallow a camel”
    Bless y’all ‘s hearts.

  • Faith over fear. Satan would love for the Church to stop meeting together. James 5:14-15 “ Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”

    • Craig Giddens says on

      1 Timothy 5:23 – Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

      2 Timothy 4:20 – … Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick

  • eloagu stanley says on

    thanks for your advise.

  • lovelypeace says on

    I was really surprised at the precautions announced at my church over the weekend. I thought some of it was “over-kill”, but I’d rather my church keep people safe than just ignore the problem and hope that “it goes away”.

    I just got back from a cruise and traveling really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The crew was very diligent about keeping public areas and surfaces clean and sanitized.

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