When restrictions ease, what next?

May 1, 2020

Over the past few weeks and days, I’ve spoken with many pastors who continue to pray for God’s wisdom as they faithfully lead their church congregations through these uncharted waters. They are giving their best efforts in helping their people navigate through lifestyle changes that families are struggling with, but are necessary because of widespread sickness and loss of many lives due to COVID-19.

There is a growing desire by many for the restrictions to be lifted or eased. The mere mention of the possibility of getting back to some semblance of normalcy is welcome news to everyone, myself included, but we are still several weeks away from this becoming reality.

On Thursday, April 23, Gov. Roy Cooper extended the stay-at-home order for North Carolina to May 8 and outlined a three-phased plan for reopening our state. No dates have been given on when the phasing will begin. Churches can resume gathering in phase two, but at limited capacities. Phase two won’t begin until a minimum of two to three weeks after the first phase begins.

The recent discussions about easing restrictions have given some hope that we may be able to assemble together again in our church buildings in the not-too-distant future. And when we first begin gathering in our churches, the impact of the deadly coronavirus will still be felt. We will need to utilize safety precautions of extreme sanitation and safe social distancing for a while, which should include not shaking hands or hugging.

I recognize that Americans, including those in the Christian community, have differing opinions in relation to decisions that are being made by national and state government officials during this pandemic. These are not easy decisions to make. Leaders face difficult decisions under normal circumstances, but those difficulties are magnified in the unprecedented times in which we are living.

Whatever your personal position is about the decisions our government leaders are making, I encourage you to practice the admonition given to Christ-followers in Romans 13:1 and 1 Timothy 2:1-3. Let’s pray for these leaders, asking God to give them wisdom and help them make the right decisions.

Personally, I do not see an effort to prevent us from proclaiming the gospel or teaching our biblical convictions, but we are being encouraged to do this in a way that does not expose a lot of people to a sickness that could cost them their lives.

As a state convention, staff members have worked diligently to provide resources and encouragement to pastors and church leaders amid everything they have been facing in light of the coronavirus. We have been virtually assembling via Zoom conferences to pray for church leaders and members. We have been praying that God will glorify Himself through His church in the midst of this pandemic.

Similarly, we are here to provide assistance, encouragement and additional resources on how churches can get started again and how things will be different once our worship gatherings in church buildings resume. New resources related to reopening churches are available on the convention website at ncbaptist.org/covid19.

As we continue to navigate these days when many of our foundations have been shaken, let us be reminded of our glorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is our steadfast anchor in times of trouble.

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.” — Hebrews 6:19 (NKJV)


by Milton A. Hollifield Jr.  
/  Executive Director-Treasurer  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

How families can mentor families to make disciples at home

There is an old saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” What if we took this same approach in discipling our families. No doubt, you have families in your church who are doing a phenomenal job discipling their...

Don’t miss the blessing of leading your child to Christ

Most churches stress the importance of passing the gospel on to future generations. We often refer to the family as a primary mission field. To emphasize this reality, we point to passages such as Deuteronomy 6:6-7a, which says, “These words that I am giving you today are to be in...

4 women’s ministry events for you and your church

“Pivot” is a new buzzword brought about by COVID-19, and it’s something every organization and ministry has had to do amid the global pandemic. The coronavirus has forced the cancellation, postponement, rescheduling or shifting of numerous events and conferences, and the impact...

NCMO helps demonstrate Christ’s love in word, deed

The year 2020 has been a year like no other in our lifetime. Events of this year have left many people hurting in numerous ways. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we should be compelled by the love He demonstrated for us through His death on the cross to love others, serve...

Baptists on Mission dedicates Charity Rebuild Center

Two years ago Hurricane Florence struck North Carolina with devastating force. Today Baptists on Mission (NCBM) dedicated its Charity Rebuild Center, a disaster relief ministry hub near Rose Hill, N.C. Since its founding in 2019, the site has been home base for volunteer teams as...

Amid pandemic precautions, Fruitland graduates 29 to take gospel to the world

Fruitland Baptist Bible College conferred degrees on 29 graduates in a commencement service at the main campus in Hendersonville on Friday, Sept. 11. The briefer-than-usual service had full pandemic precautions in place, including masks, social distancing and gloves. Graduates...

How to reach those ‘far from God’ but ‘near to us’

The missionary task propels the global church from everywhere to everywhere to share the gospel in the darkest corners of the world. That same gospel-driven intentionality leads local churches to be relevant in engaging the lost around them. Our state is changing as long-term...

3 practical ways to encourage your pastor

Pastors are quitting today for many reasons. Pastors, as a whole, can be a troubled lot. Unfortunately it comes with the territory. But much of the remedy would come if somebody would simply offer them some genuine encouragement. To encourage means “to inspire with courage,...

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!