How to know when to cancel church due to Coronavirus… What to do about it and how should the Church respond? After talking to a couple of pastor friends of mine in Dallas and Denver, I thought some words of encouragement might be in order for pastors.
“Do not be afraid!” is the phrase God spoke throughout the Scriptures as He called His people to a life of courage in the face of uncertainty. And I believe He’s speaking this same word to us today as we enter an unprecedented season of uncertainty in our community, our nation, and the world.
Jesus’ church is not one that shrinks back in fear, casts off her confidence, puts her head in the sand or bows to societal pressure. Instead, she brings light to the darkness, hope to the hopeless, healing to the sick and life to the dying!
The current extremes with this pandemic are panic or denial. It’s hard to find someone with a sensible balance. On one hand, panic has sent our financial markets into chaos and has many people hoarding staple goods like it’s the end of the world. On the other hand, some are shrugging their shoulders, as if this is not a significant event and basically ignoring simple precautions that would greatly limit the spread of the virus.
A core value of the Church should be “balance”. In a world full of extremes, our trust in the Sovereign hand of God enables us to live centered, balanced lives, even in the face of situations like we find ourselves in today.
That being said, one of the things every church should do is to systematically take precautions and one of the questions we’ve heard asked is, how do I know when to cancel church due to Coronavirus? This is a hard decision for pastors to make.
Here are a few questions for consideration as you think about whether or not to cancel church due to Coronavirus:
1. What precautions do you need to take?
Here is a Coronavirus checklist for churches from the CDC of things to do in order to protect the health and safety of those who attend church services.
2. What have the local governing officials asked you to do?
In some places we’ve seen local government requesting groups of 100 or more cancel meeting together, including churches. As leaders in your community, it’s important to set an example of following the instructions of local, state, and federal agencies (Romans 13).
3. Are there ways your church can still “meet” without being in-person?
This might be gathering together in smaller groups in people’s homes. This might mean gathering together online to hear the teaching. In other words, there might be other ways to accomplish meeting together.
4. What will happen to our offerings if we cancel church?
This is a concept no one wants to talk about, but it’s a real fear for pastors. Churches rely on the giving of individuals, and that’s why we teach the importance of your church to offer online giving inside our Cultivating Generosity video series.
5. What do your key leaders feel you should do?
Ask some of your key leaders or church board members what they think would be the right decision for canceling church due to Coronavirus. Ultimately, you have to make the call as the leader using all the available information given to you, but we know the Bible clearly says listening to counsel is wise.
Remember, living without fear and approaching moments like these with an unshakable trust in God says more about Him to the “watching world” than 10,000 sermons. If our faith isn’t strong enough to sustain us with hope in moments like these, can it be a legitimate faith?
Now, more than ever before, the Church will live up to her name! By the power of Jesus living in us, we will walk in victory over sickness, chaos and fear.
Don’t forget to check out the CDC Checklist for Faith-Based Organizations.