3 questions your church should ask before gathering again

April 20, 2020

As we entered the new decade on Jan. 1, 2020, I doubt anyone expected that within the next 90 days most of our weekend worship gatherings would be halted and moved online. Who could have imagined an Easter where we would gather with our families in front of computer screens, mobile phones and smart TVs instead of celebrating our risen King in our church buildings? What an unusual moment in time we find ourselves in.

While each of us eagerly anticipates the lifting or relaxing of the stay-at-home order by our governor, believers find themselves desperately missing their church gatherings. While lifting the order will open our church doors, how will churches function in the aftermath of COVID-19? There are questions and conversations that pastors and church leaders should probably be having now. Following are three big questions that should be part of these conversations.

How will we deal with restrictions on mass gatherings?
A lifting of the stay-at-home order will be exciting news for all of us, but will likely still include some form of limits on mass gatherings and continued social distancing measures. We don’t know what those limits may be, but what will your church do if the gathering limit is 50? Or 100? What will large churches do to honor these gathering limitations?

While many churches hosted multiple worship services prior to COVID-19, this will no doubt become a necessity for most in the near future. Questions to consider might be:

  • What times will our worship gatherings be held?
  • How might we strategically stagger attendance to ensure certain services (such as 11 a.m.) do not exceed the limits?
  • How does a multiple-service plan affect our children’s ministry?

While the tragedy of COVID-19 has been devastating, it has also been a time of learning how to be the church in difficult times.

How will we create a safe and sanitary environment?
Sanitation thoughts for the church post-COVID-19 will most likely never be the same. Prior to the coronavirus, thoughts of church sanitation were much different than they will be afterward. Now is the time to begin considering:

  • Weekly sanitation of your building.
  • Establishing sanitation stations that include hand sanitizer.
  • Having a plan for social-distancing procedures for seating and classrooms.

Churches will need a plan for regular and ongoing cleaning and disinfecting of their facilities. Helpful guidelines have been provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What did we learn?
COVID-19 has caused churches to wrestle with many issues they might not have imagined before.. Questions like: How do we do digital church? How can we activate our small groups and Sunday Schools online? How does the church “meet” when we literally cannot meet together? How does the church minister to the needs of those who are high-risk?

COVID-19 also pressed our churches to figure out what was essential. The church was forced to pivot and adapt multiple times during the crisis. There were undoubtedly different solutions to the many issues your church encountered. Were your solutions just for the crisis, or do they actually make the church better? How do we continue the things that make your church better when the stay-at-home order is lifted? What things were you doing before COVID-19 that were not missed during the crisis? Maybe there are some conversations your leadership needs to have coming out of the crisis.

The window for having these conversations is open. While the tragedy of COVID-19 has been devastating, it has also been a time of learning how to be the church in difficult times. Now is the time to begin establishing your re-entry plan for your weekly gatherings.


by Mike Pittman  
Church Planting  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Don’t let politics become an idol

One of the many things I love about our country is the opportunity to participate in the political process by exercising our right to vote. While our system is not perfect, there are many places around the world that do not have the same opportunities to play a part in electing...

Virtual breakout sessions to be released ahead of annual meeting

N.C. Baptists can receive practical training and equipping in a variety of ministry areas through a series of virtual breakout sessions that will be released in conjunction with this year’s Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) annual meeting.Fifteen breakout session...

Cultivate the secret place with the Lord

It was a busy Thursday evening in October 2002. Billy Graham was leading a crusade in my hometown, and my church had chartered a bus for any interested church member to ride to the gathering with ease. I was one of the last people to make it to the bus before it departed and there...

Seeing the college campus as a mission field

Though many churches are rightly concerned about graduating high school students and college students in the church family keeping their faith, another important aspect of college ministry is reaching non-Christian college students with the gospel. The Baptist State Convention of...

N.C. Baptist search team looking for visionary, missions-minded leader

Noah Crowe, chair of the search committee to find the next executive leader for North Carolina Baptists, told the Biblical Recorder a "visionary mindset" is one of the "high qualities" the group is looking for among candidates. The search team was formed in July to begin looking...

Living in the Bible Belt doesn’t make you a Christian

I grew up in the Bible Belt. In those days, almost nobody worked on Sundays. We prayed before class, ball games and meals — even in the name of Jesus — whether we believed it or not. We proudly displayed the Ten Commandments in our courthouses — whether we obeyed them or not....

Newly planted cowboy church draws folks from afar

Cool Water Cowboy Church near Sanford is growing. Drive by Hunt Springs Baptist Church’s building south of downtown Sanford and it looks pretty normal. It’s a medium-size brick building with a neatly-trimmed lawn. The church reports having about 155 members — a solid number, but...

An A-to-Z list of things to know about annual meeting

The 2020 annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina will be unlike any other in recent memory. Changes to the time and location, a new online registration process and enhanced health and safety protocols are just a few of the items to be aware of this...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!