In an effort to help our churches, Texas Baptists leaders compiled the following suggestions and ideas as you seek to minister and care for your congregation and community during this time. Each church may determine for itself which ideas might work in its context.
1. Follow CDC guidelines for cleaning facilities and personal hygiene
Our affiliated partner institution Baylor Scott & White Health urges Texas Baptist churches to follow the latest news and updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Whatever you do to reduce the risks, we recommend sharing with your congregation the ways you are cleaning your facility after each event; especially your childcare areas, door handles, and common surfaces.
2. Stop greeting with hugs and handshakes and encourage the “welcome wave”
To reduce personal contact, ask your congregation to welcome one another with a wave or fist bump. Handshaking and other forms of personal contact should be avoided at this time.
3. Promote online giving
Recent statistics show that churches that promote online giving receive offerings more consistently than churches that just pass the plate. Set aside an area where people can receive instructions and demonstrations on how to sign-up. If you cancel services in the future, people will still tithe to the Lord through online options.
4. Live stream your service
Live stream options are available for your worship service through Facebook, YouTube and other streaming platforms. You can use a cellphone or tablet to stream, however, the quality of the video may not be great. Streaming your service provides an option for church members who choose to stay home rather than attend church. Take time during worship to promote this alternative in case future events or inclement weather require it.
5. Use plastic cups for both elements of the Lord’s Supper
To avoid cross-contamination of the bread tray, place an individual wafer in each plastic cup. People may take a cup with a wafer already in it in the same way they take a cup of juice. Another option is to pass both elements at the same time with the juice cup stacked on top of the wafer cup.
6. Consider how to meet needs in your community
Any crisis provides an opportunity to show the love of Jesus to your neighbors. You may purchase boxes of food for pennies on the dollar through your local food bank to distribute to people in need. Set up a system for checking on your neighbors. Think strategically about ways to communicate that you are here to help.
7. Encourage church members to share the Gospel
Many lost people are open to spiritual conversations during this time of uncertainty. God’s people must share the Good News of salvation through Christ in and out of season. Your neighbor may be eager to hear about your source of hope!
8. Pray strategically
Ask your church to join Texas Baptists in praying for an end to the spread of the virus, for the healing of all sickness, the safety of health care professionals and first responders, and for God to send revival through His people that we might boldly and lovingly share the faith.
Texas Baptists are saddened by the spread of the coronavirus and the tragic loss of life. It is a stark reminder of our fragility as human beings. Even so, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV).
Allow the Lord to shine through you during this time of uncertainty that we might point all people to the assurance of salvation we have through Him.