If Churches Must Go into COVID Shutdown Again . . .

I hope it doesn’t happen, but I won’t be surprised if some churches face shutdown again as COVID spikes continue. If that happens, I pray that . . . .

  1. We will be better prepared because we’ve been through this situation before. In fact, I encourage churches to have a Plan B ready to go now just in case we face shutdown again. I trust we learned much the first time around. 
  2. We who lead will model trust in God and joy in service. I saw so many church leaders show these traits when COVID first hit, but we’ve now been through several more months of this ongoing crisis. We’re weary—which might open the door to our responding poorly. 
  3. We’ll share ideas between congregations and learn from each other’s experiences. We don’t need to re-invent the wheel in doing church electronically. Almost all of us learned something, and all of us can help a sister congregation. 
  4. We’ll recognize again the importance of reaching out to all our members and finding unique ways to minister to them. Many churches did this the first time around; I just don’t want our fatigue to stop us from doing it again. It might be even more important this time around. 
  5. We will be ready to assist any members who don’t have access to the internet or don’t know how to use it. Again, we need to learn from others who’ve already done it. I’ve seen some churches mail to members a DVD, CD, or even a transcript of a service. 
  6. We will build a movement of prayer through digital means. At Southeastern Seminary, we’re holding a virtual prayer meeting for our distance learning students next week. Our churches can do the same for our congregations and small groups—and God might work mighty miracles through people who give increased attention to prayer. Even a few people who pray can make an eternal difference. 

I say it again—I hope it won’t happen . . . . but let’s be ready if it does.


  • Pete Pharis says:

    To add to your first point, many of our people who resisted change in the past are now used to necessary change. It will be a good time to capitalize on their lowered resistance.

    Our area is rural, it wasn’t hit very bad. I expect leaders in our area will have to deal with minds that are already tired and made up concerning masks, distancing, attendance, and opinions. We are getting ready to keep in contact with those who found it easy to just stay at home.

  • mark says:

    For years, Christianity has struggled with putting into practice what has been preached. Applicability of teachings was lacking. If I were preaching, I would use the simplest teaching “love your neighbour as yourself.” Wearing a mask and maintaining a distance says if I am contagious yet asymptomatic and do not know that I have the virus, I care enough about you to try to keep you from getting the virus. This is practicing what you preach. Online church is here for a while so people just might as well get used to it.

  • Robin G Jordan says:

    I see two areas where improvement is needed–reliable information on the severity of the COVID-19 coronavirus, its transmission, and effective measures for reduction of infection risk and what may be described as “best practices.” A lot of disinformation and misinformation is circulating on the internet as well as a number of people who have an investment in its circulation. There is also a sinful human nature and a busy devil. Some churches are up-to-date on what a church can do reduce infection risk; others are following outdated guidance. A number of churches are in denial about the severity of the pandemic and are doing little or nothing to protect their attendees and their communities. The latest research suggests that restaurants, places of worship, gyms, and cafes are high risk environments for the transmission of the virus. Family and other small gatherings have also been implicated in the virus’ spread. In these environments people spend long periods of time together. The controversy over face masks, social distancing, handwashing, and the like has not helped. When they are around family and friends, people are also less vigilant. Many churches may need help in learning what they can do to encourage not only their attendees but members of their communities to engage in more socially responsible behavior such as following the latest guidance rather than ignoring or dismissing it, as well as what they can do to educate people about diseases like COVID-19, their harmful effects on the human body, and how they are spread.

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