We know that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has become a worldwide concern and is on the top of everyone’s minds. The following email will provide some guidance for your and your leaders on how to handle this global concern.
First and foremost, God “has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Therefore, we serve in confidence that God controls all things. It also means we should lead with wisdom and insight, gaining the counsel of others (Proverbs 11:14).
Given the nature and gravity of the Coronavirus, your leadership now is more than spiritual; it has a communal nature and you should therefore practice a strong duty of care towards those in your ministry area. At this point, closing Sunday services doesn’t seem to be warranted but you should carefully monitor the situation, looking for the location of any recently reported outbreaks. Gauging the temperature of your congregants will also help you make such determinations. In the meantime, what should you do?
Let people know of the actions your church is taking.
Please consider the following items as a minimum level of response, by letting people know that:
- You are dedicated to offering a clean and safe environment.
- Your facilities are cleaned regularly.
- In addition to hand soap available in the bathrooms, you have a supply of alcohol-based hand sanitizers available for use at every service time and location.
- You plan to continue our weekly services but are monitoring the situation and following recommendations from state and local government agencies.
Provide examples of best practices for not spreading germs.
These include, but are not limited to the following:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you are not feeling well.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your forearm when coughing and sneezing.
- Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds at a time. Use soap and water when possible.
- If no soap and water are available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.
Share encouragement through scripture.
The following verses provide hope and inspiration to God’s people in times of need.
- Psalm 91:5-7: You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
- Psalm 91:10-11: No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.
- Luke 12:25-26: Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
- John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
- John 16:33: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Continue in prayer.
We know prayer is a powerful force and our prayers are the very thing our world needs right now. Be fervent in prayer (1 John 5:15; 1 Chronicles 16:11; Romans 12:12).
The news around the Coronavirus is changing rapidly. Always refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state, and local government guidelines for the most up-to-date information.
The State Office is available to you as a resource.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to find the support you need.