COVID-19 CHURCH RESOURCES
This page has been established to house resources and reminders for pastors and churches to use, adapt, and pass along, as we each work to respond faithfully to COVID-19 health concerns. Resources listed here are not necessarily recommended, but offered as ideas. Please cite authors/source where appropriate, and check and cite all copyrights. Resources here compiled starting March 15, 2020.
Here are a few good reminders for pastors and churches to start with in this season. See the Key Resource Links and COVID-19 Shared Resource List to the right for more resources, best practices, and links.
SECOND PHASE COVID-19 HEALTH & MINISTRY REMINDERS
Accept Adaptation and Prepare for the Long Haul
This is an unusual and profound health season for our church to do ministry within. Take seriously the health and government warnings in your context and more widely for our nation/world. Accept that this will change your work and the needs in our church and community likely for some time. Remind your staff/leaders that we in the church make decisions out of care, faith, and wisdom, never out of anxiety or fear. Take time for your own preparation and prayer so that you can help support those around you in the church and outside of it, from a place of hope and preparedness. Gently but firmly remind those who do not see this as a "big deal" that this is a unique time and we have to adapt to respond to it faithfully.
Lead With Both Hope and Lament
"Normal life" will most likely be drastically different for most people for several months and will probably have many long-term effects on people and our systems as well; consider how to strategically hold a posture of hope, lament, and self-care for the long haul within this reality. While we always preach the hope of the Gospel, and work to model a theology of trust and prayer, we must make room for uncertainty, questions, anxiety, and grief as they will regularly surface and require an honest and pastoral response. Lament and fear are going to be companions for this season as well, around loss of expectations, finances, celebrations, connection, health, etc. Start these conversations, gather resources, learn with other pastors online - do whatever creative leadership you can in this season intentionally, in front of the needs, instead of waiting for the need for hope and lament to arise.
Care For the Most Vulnerable/Front Line Responders
These health concerns we are learning are most serious for those who are older, are immuno-compromised or have pre-existing conditions, or those who are without health care, sanitation, housing, regular food and child-care, etc. This crisis also deeply impacts the finances and well-being of those who work hourly, those who are medical providers or chaplains, and those who are isolated, single parents, within at-risk or under-resourced communities, in prison or jail, etc. Consider how your church can respond and care for those most vulnerable - by limiting/ending gatherings, providing access to food and support, fundraising for resources, collecting donations, advocating for oversight in our systems, and through prayer. Partner with others in your context and see what new ideas others have come up with to provide care within new social norms/distances.
Reject and Subvert Racism
Racist assumptions, fear, and loss of business is already impacting many Chinese-Americans, Asian-Americans, and others for whom this health scare deepens racial injustice. Intentionally reject these assumptions and behaviors; purchase from Asian-American businesses and other small and locally owned stores and restaurants when you can, reach out to families who may be impacted in your community, and notice where immigration or other national policies may intersect with the increased bans on travel, access to services, resources and citizenship, etc.
Stay Away AND Creatively Reach Out
Many cities and locations are responding daily in new ways to try to halt the spread of COVID-19. Take seriously the need to close buildings, cancel events, engage in social distancing, and get creative about how to still "reach out and touch someone." Start a phone tree, a new facebook group, or email groups within your church. Try out new tech, like Zoom calls, livestreams for worship, or group chats to check in on folks. Consider how to facilitate online giving options at your church, share home-based worship practices or downloadable resources, and ask tech saavy or creative content folks to help think of new ideas that fit your context.
Monitor Official Updates and Stay Healthy
Check updates from your city, county, state, CDC, Johns Hopkins, and reputable sources to stay on top of what you and your community should be doing to respect and slow the spread of COVID-19. While precautions taken ahead of a crisis can feel alarmist, working to fix a pandemic after the fact will often result in too little, too late. Do all you can to stay healthy, wash hands, encourage high sanitation and cleaning in public spaces, self-quarantine if needed, etc. Encourage those you know to do this as well, including limiting travel and regular ministry tasks, as part of both personal care and also holding community health concerns seriously. Read the updates around the public/common health focus that the US is now already in, which is to “flatten the curve” for the whole medical system - public health impacts everyone and every facet of health for the long term.
Consider what people, communities, and needs you and your church can regularly cover in prayer in this season. Maybe each day of the week focus on a specific topic/population to pray for. Prayer is part of how we battle and focus on hope as a Body - especially in a season where fear, uncertainty, grief and scarcity are at work. Pray against anxiety, discouragement, and physical and spiritual sickness. Pray for leaders, first responders, the creatives and worshippers who often lead us, and for the spiritual health of our nation.
RESOURCES & REMINDERS
This is a google spreadsheet for the Ministerium to use and add to. It is a dynamic list that anyone can enter ideas into, or that you can search and find resources to use. Thank you in advance for sharing your ideas and creativity to better resource and support best practices throughout the church in this season. LINK