The below article was adapted from Ralph Moore’s Pastoring Through a Pandemic on March 12, 2020.
Please join us for a live webinar on Tuesday, March 24 at 1:00 p.m. ET featuring church planter and author Ralph Moore; pastor, author, and speaker Rob Wegner; and director of the Send Institute Daniel Yang as they discuss how the church today can tap into the micro expressions which may actually fuel greater growth and depth of community. Learn more and register here.
It’s time to take precautions; your church needs to be at the forefront of care, nurture, and safety. So what does that mean?
Let’s start with me, personally. Two weeks ago I was in Florida with 5,000 others at the Exponential conference. It may have been the best conference I’ve ever attended. Did I get exposed to the virus? I don’t know. Getting to and from the conference took me through airports six times and into a dozen restaurants and coffee shops. I may have been exposed.
I’ve always seen the church building as more than a box to hold a crowd. I think the “clubhouse” effect is in full force. For many Christ-followers it gives them a sense of place — something that is tangibly theirs in an era of high rents, homelessness, and too little home ownership. I’ve always felt that the church building should be a backup gathering place during earthquakes, heavy winds, and the like.
This time I see it differently. If I were still pastoring, I’d shut the building until we got word that the coronavirus was subsiding. Our people, and our staff, need to know that we value their safety far more than we value our program or even church finances.
And now, from a national level, we’ve been advised to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people. Some cities are already encouraging a “shelter in place” rule, asking citizens to stay in their residences and avoid going out into public areas.
So what can we do in the meantime?
- Shepherd the flock. During times of threat, you need to stay connected to your people. At a minimum, I’d use Facebook Live to preach on Sundays, or whenever you hold your primary church meeting. I’d actually do this twice a week, once on Sunday and again in the midweek.
- Stay informed. Keep up on the news. People want to know their pastor is well-informed about the threat that is actively disrupting their lives.
- Keep the faith. Work hard to build faith during this stressful time. Remind people that we can cast our cares on Jesus. That Jesus is our healer. Take them through the 23rd Psalm.
- Start a live daily devotional. Social media has an amazing built-in sharing capacity. I’d stay home and produce daily connectivity and reassurance to those who might be in financial fear along with the health scare. Guide people through Philippians 4, where we are reminded that our God will supply all our needs.
- Be open about finances. For some churches, the financial hit during this time will be major. This thing has thrown stocks into a bear market — it may seem as if the sky is falling, financially. That, accompanied by a general recession, will impact your people and their giving.
- Be a comfort. Some will suffer great loss during this time.
Jesus is under no stress. Nor is his ecclesia. The very gates of hell don’t cause heaven to fret.
We may find that the pattern and operating system of the U.S. Church is in jeopardy, but the Church of Jesus Christ is not! He will prevail through whatever comes. We just need to walk in faith and remain in lockstep with Him. He will protect and he will provide.
Jesus chose you to lead your ministry. Responsibility for bearing fruit rests in the vine — not the branches. You need to abide in Him and love your neighbors.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last — and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
John 15:16 (NIV)
To dive deeper into the idea of Microchurches check out this Webinar Replay with church planter and author Ralph Moore; pastor, author, and speaker Rob Wegner; and director of the Send Institute Daniel Yang as they discuss how the church today can tap into the micro expressions which may actually fuel greater growth and depth of community. Watch here.