God is alive and at work! As we prepare to reopen our houses of worship amidst our global pandemic parameters and COVID-19 confinement, Greenforest Community Baptist Church joins other churches in taking the necessary steps. Below is a blueprint we’ve developed, not a comprehensive approach but one to allow C.H.R.I.S.T. to order our next steps.
C – Communicate constantly
Over-communicate with your core leaders, local congregation, and surrounding community on consistent days, in consistent ways, and on consistent platforms/mediums.
H – Highlight health protocols
Emphasize new safety practices and label where the new “sanitation stations” are located.
R – Recruit a relaunch team
Recruit at least 5-7 people to assist with strategizing, implementing, and assessing the reopening process. Also develop a coronavirus task forceto monitor and inform the church of health updates, data, and local health resources.
I – Implement in increments
Slowly introduce and include new practices, small groups, youth ministry, additional worship services, new ministries, and philosophies.
S – Study the stats
Compile, review, analyze, and report the analytics, data, measurements, and trends to help drive future decisions. This info will help you prepare for your 2021 budgetary process.
T – Try creating a timeline
Establish a tentative 4-month timetable (June, July, August, September) that everyone can follow.
There will be questions you’ll need to address before relaunching. Below are the ones we’ve developed.
Health and Safety
- What are the local, county, state, and national parameters for gathering?
- Will you set up additional “Sanitization Stations” around your church?
- What safety measures are you implementing around social distancing?
- Will attendees be asked to wear masks, gloves, or other PPE?
- How will Communion, Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and Offering be done differently?
Communication and tech teams
- What will be your primary ways of communicating with your members?
- Do you need an online pastor?
- Have you assigned someone to capture data and measure analytics? (i.e. worship attendance, worship viewership, classes, and giving)
- Will you continue to offer online virtual worship and classes?
- Do you need to establish new worship times or shorten your services?
- How will your church practice social distancing for weddings, funerals, mid- week worship, receptions, fellowships, and other large gatherings?
- What counseling will you provide people who are mentally struggling?
- How will you care for your senior citizens?
- How will you care for the sick, shut-in, and bereaved?
Amenities and bathrooms
- Are you planning to thoroughly sanitize your facility before opening?
- How often will your deep-cleaning intervals take place?
Preschool, children, youth, and teens
- How will you slowly and methodically convene young people?
Small groups Bible Studies
- Which month will you start to slowly implement Small Groups?
- How will you make prayer a priority in the church?
- Have you mapped out your preaching for the next quarter?
- What new evangelism strategies do you need to implement?
- What ministries do you need to combine, add, or eliminate?
Choirs and band
- Will the choir sing from the choir loft?
- Does the band need to social distance when playing their instruments?
- Will you utilize congregational singing or only use a small praise team?
Staffing and volunteers
- Will the staff work entirely virtually? In person? Hybrid?
- Does your staff need new or additional training?
- Are there any staff you need to transition to places of need or phase in?
- How will you monitor the church’s financial income and expenses?
- Will you launch a giving campaign? Or start sacrificial giving?
- Have you asked lenders for a reprieve on mortgages or other debt?
- What additional expenses do you need to incur for your relaunch?
Rescheduling ministry events
- Do you need to reschedule key events? (Graduations, Revival)
- Are you willing to do Virtual VBS and other yearly ministry events?
These are considerations we haven’t had to make as pastors, and so developing a plan is crucial to how we continue to minister and share the love of Christ effectively.