Many of our governors and local authorities are providing guidelines for reopening in stages or phases. Because each state, province, country, and county will be different, some of these questions may not be as applicable.

As believers, we live by faith and do not operate in fear, but we also remember the New Commandment to love others as Jesus loves us and therefore we agree to be proactive and to act in wisdom towards our members and guests, especially those among us who are most susceptible to becoming infected with COVID-19.

This list of questions is not exhaustive. It is representative of many things we should be thinking about right now before we get the OK from government leaders to gather again. We have compiled these questions from articles like this one. We will continue to add resources here, with more guidelines for longer-term planning.

    • Can we just pick up where we left off at church? The short answer is no. We cannot go back to “business as usual” for the immediate future. Our call to love others as Jesus loves us means doing whatever is necessary to put others at ease and putting their concerns above our own.
    • What are you doing now to sanitize and sterilize your church building? This applies whether you own or rent. You may need to communicate this question to your landlord and give yourself extra time on a Sunday morning to prepare the building. For those who own a building, now is the time to wipe down all classrooms (especially those where children meet because of the toys and other items they touch). Have you sprayed pews and chairs with disinfectant? Who is wiping doorknobs and handles? Have you had carpet cleaned and disinfected? Now is the time for all this to take place.
    • Should we wear masks? Many may believe wearing a mask is not necessary, but because it will bring peace to some of our members, and certainly any guests, we are encouraging our pastors and leaders to set the example and wear masks for the first few weeks (except when preaching).
    • What if your worship gathering is initially limited to no more than 50 people? For many of our congregations, this will not be an issue. Is there enough space to maintain social distancing? Have you considered adding a 2nd service so you can follow the guidelines?
    • What about handshakes and hugging? Our denomination is an affectionate denomination and it will be difficult for some to refrain from hugging and shaking hands. We encourage all to follow the state and local guidelines and refrain from physical contact for the time being.
    • What adjustments will you make to the Lord’s Supper? We cannot pass the plate for the immediate future. Neither should we be sharing a communal cup. Consider using self-contained juice and cracker cups. Or put on mask and gloves and hand each person the communion elements. Anyone preparing communion should wear a mask and gloves.
    • What adjustments need to be made to the worship team and/or choir? People standing side-by-side won’t work. How will you adjust your worship service?
    • How do we receive the offering? Is passing the plate a thing of the past? How would you feel if you were the 50th or 100th person touching the offering plate? Would you or someone else be worried? Consider leaving offering plates at the doors or at the front of the sanctuary? Make a secured box where people can place their offering. Encourage electronic giving.
    • Will you continue to offer children’s church? As a short-term alternative, could family worship be encouraged as the primary option, in these COVID-19 days?
    • Are you continuing to provide coffee at church? Is the person(s) making the coffee wearing a mask and gloves? Serve only pre-packaged items. This may be the time to take a break from having snacks.
    • Do door greeters do their jobs differently? The new normal may be for greeters to wear masks and gloves and stand outside the building and open the door for people so that fewer people are touching the doors.
    • Is this the time to suspend or end your church’s “meet and greet” time? Because of physical distancing rules please temporarily end this practice.
    • Are you prepared to change the way you do Sunday School? We cannot have class or discussions while sitting in a crowded room for Bible study. What changes do you need to make?
    • Will you reopen the doors of your church with a “worship only” strategy Potlucks and social gatherings should be suspended for the immediate future We will experience a change in fellowshipping as some people might be nervous to stand and talk with someone, others might feel uncomfortable talking to someone while maintaining a six-foot social distance. Will members willingly comply with the guidelines? What are your plans if they do not?

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