So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isa. 41:10)
This year may not have started out the way many of us thought it might. Yet, these events have not surprised God, or hampered in any way His plans. When people and nations are in a panic, we have the source of peace. When people wonder why, we know God has a plan.
When a Crisis Occurs a Mission Field is Created.
In the wake of the Coronavirus, Christians have the opportunity to share the story of hope and peace with a very troubled world. Kevin Kompelien, EFCA President, wrote an excellent article on COVID-19 and ministry As Kevin states, “In a time when it is tempting to be driven and controlled by fear, we should be reminded that God is our source of strength and courage.”
In your neighborhoods, churches and communities there will be many that are quite fearful…just look at the lines at Costco.
Our pastor at Christ Community Church, Laguna Hills, CA has been leading a class on Biblical Counseling using a book by Paul David Trip, Instruments in the Hands of the Redeemer. This excellent book and timely class offer great insights into how to help people that are in crisis from a Biblical perspective. As Christians and churches, we need to be prepared to minister in the wake of a crisis event.
For Churches, there are numerous resources to help to prepare for and respond to this quickly unfolding event. The CDC publishes Guidelines for Communities and Faith-based Organizations to consider during this event. There are guidelines and suggestions from Christianity Today, Wheaton College’s Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) and others.
It is important for churches to plan. As stated by Wheaton College, “Church planning and preparedness should not be developed in a vacuum. It’s important to recognize that each church has its own history, culture, and approach to ministry. Successful church planning and preparedness should also acknowledge the unique risks each community faces, as needs vary from region to region and church to church”.
Establishing a Plan
Churches should at a minimum create a plan, including:
- Establishing a dedicated team to monitor and establish and update plans as the event progresses
- Developing and executing a communications strategy and approach to regularly and clearly disseminating relevant information
- Reviewing and potentially revising how services, including communion, are observed
- Defining criteria for cancelling services or moving to a strictly online format for a short period of time
- Altering greeting process before, during and after a service
- Developing an approach for caring for older/vulnerable members
- Reviewing the process for taking an offering and providing alternatives including online options
- Installing hand sanitizer stations and posting reminders for members and volunteers to wash frequently
Christianity Today, in “A Concise Guide to the Cornavirus“, stated it well, “In these anxious days, the church can shine as a light of hope, care, faith, patience, and prudence, demonstrating for the world how our faith provides true assurance against worry and fear.”
ReachGlobal Crisis Response works with churches to help them prepare for a wide range of crisis events. Pray for us as we continue to work with individual churches and communities regarding this crisis and other crisis events.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body. . . . Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25–27