The government canceled flights to Europe. Schools are employing online-only education strategies. And now churches are having to decide how they will respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
There are many great resources available online to help leaders make informed decisions:
- The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers guidelines for community- and faith-based organizations.
- Christianity Today has a downloadable guide for churches to help leaders determine what is best for their communities.
- Lifeway has put together a free online training course with checklists to help churches get prepared.
While the days ahead seem uncertain, there are a few principles we can keep in mind as we work together to “flatten the curve”:
Love your neighbor as you would yourself
While the average healthy person may not be physically affected by the coronavirus, other immuno-compromised individuals could become deathly ill. As many hospitals are already near capacity battling the flu season, an additional rapid influx of patients could diminish the quality of care for everyone.
So the question isn’t, Will I get sick? But rather, Who might I infect? We need to take reasonable precautions to ensure we care for the most vulnerable in our congregations.
This might mean placing communion wafers into hands rather than on the tongue, temporarily removing holy water, or even suspending weekly services.
Fear not, have faith
As people on television and social media attempt to make sense of this global pandemic, we must remember that this too shall pass. Maybe not as quickly or as quietly as we would like, but it will. And God will still be on His throne. He is neither surprised nor caught off guard.
We can walk through fearful circumstances and yet not be afraid. We can have peace knowing that our lives—and our futures—are in His hands.
We have a great opportunity to share God’s comfort and love with those who have yet to take their first step of faith. So let us be wise with our words that we might be beacons of hope, not harbingers of despair.
It’s the last thing we mention, but the first thing we should do. Seek wisdom from the Lord and ask Him to work in miraculous ways.
Pray that He would have mercy, protect the immuno-compromised, and give strength to the health workers who will bear much of the burden.
May our eyes be open to opportunities to share God’s love and the hope of salvation during this time. And may we answer His call to care for one another with compassionate hearts.