While Scripture alone must be our sole source of faith and practice, it appears that we are in the midst of a pandemic identified as coronavirus (COVID-19) and it is affecting our places of worship. Many denominational leaders, pastors, and lay leaders are currently making statements and this is good. The local church should not remain silent. It is a time of concern but it should not be a time of fear. The Bible teaches that we should not fear but be strong and courageous during such times (Joshua 1:9).
In my opinion, we are witnessing a frenzy fueled by the media and political hype that if left unchecked will lead many into a “doomsday” mentality. Is the pandemic real? Absolutely. Should we be concerned? Absolutely. However, concern should not equate being anxious or living in fear (Philippians 4:6-7 and 2 Timothy 1:7).
Most every pastor is rethinking how to hold worship services, ministries, and fellowship gatherings. Many churches are known for their friendliness and loving congregations. To many the thought of no more “passing of the peace” or “meet and greet” is very alarming. What about Holy Communion? Do we refrain from certain practices that we rely upon as “means of grace” that are so essential to our faith? These are real struggles and there are no easy answers. However, we can enter the dialog, take proactive steps to protect our congregations, and at the same time continue engaging our communities with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Below are some steps our local church and Christian daycare are taking at this stage of the US outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19):
- We are trusting God as the sovereign Creator, Redeemer, and Healer of human life;
- We are praying for those affected to be healed, wisdom for our President, Coronavirus Task Force, CDC officials, doctors, medical staff, and researchers;
- We are staying informed though our denominational leadership and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html;
- We are informing our congregation of the steps being taken during this season;
- We are making use of social media for shut-ins and those unable to attend worship services during this time including online giving tutorials;
- We are sanitizing our facilities including all surfaces and making alcohol based hand sanitizer more readily available;
- We are not (at this time) forsaking the assembling of ourselves. We are continuing our times of ministry, worship, and daycare hours of operation;
- We are moving toward friendly waves instead of hugs, handshakes, and fist bumps;
- We are offering the following practical suggestions to help stop the spread of germs:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Limit contact with others if you are sick.
- Cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Use a tissue or napkin, if possible, and throw it away. Help prevent the spread of germs by avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
Instead of staying home we are encouraging everyone to “lean in” toward the fellowship of believers and continue our corporate worship of Jesus!
Our Sunday School classes are continuing to meet at 10 AM, our main celebration/worship service is meeting Sundays at 11 AM in the Freedom Worship Center, on Sunday evenings at 6 PM in the old sanctuary we are studying the Book of Daniel, and on Wednesdays at 7 PM we are studying the Book of Revelation in the fellowship hall. During this season we are seeking what the Bible has to say about the “End Times” and applying God’s Word to daily living.
Our youth ministries, outreach ministries, men’s fellowship, and Christian daycare are all following their normal schedule at this time and we are encouraging staying healthy and active in the local church!
In addition, we are seeking ways to minister to our community with an intentional outward focus to share the love of Jesus Christ. This is an opportunity for us to rise up as the Body of Christ and show the world that we care. May the Lord bless you and keep you healthy!