What Will Reopening Churches Amid Coronavirus Look Like?

Different branches of the global Church have responded to the coronavirus pandemic in different ways. But almost every part of the Body of Christ has the same question; what happens now? How do we go from lockdown to fostering community? How do we enact Christ’s love during a pandemic?

To help the Church make the transition from pandemic to normalcy, Barna recently published “Three Questions for Church Leaders to Ask Before Reopening.” We reached out to Ed Weaver of Spoken Worldwide, an organization that focuses on providing discipleship resources for orality-based learning, and asked him those questions.

“What are the local and government regulations currently in place in my church’s area, and how should I lead my congregation in light of these?”

Every part of the world can answer the first part of this question differently, but Weaver points out that many Christians are responding to the same regulations. Weaver says 90% of Spoken Worldwide’s partners have interstate travel restrictions, 65% have restrictive local travel, and nearly 55% have restricted public transport.

Fortunately for Spoken Worldwide, most of their groups only have between 10-15 people, keeping them under most crowd limitations still in place. Still, it’s enough to keep them pursuing new solutions to pandemic and lockdown conditions.

But leading a congregation means more than simply knowing the rules. “At the core of all this has to be the question of, ‘Okay. How am I compassionate toward the members of my small discussion group?’” Weaver says. “‘How do I lead them? How do I meet their needs?’”

Every community presents its own unique challenges. Some families face severe economic downturn; others have little to no access to food. Ask your neighbors what they need. Listen to their response. Show them Christlike compassion.

Once believers have these answers, they need to consider what they can do to help.

“If you look at the first-century church and specifically in the first couple of chapters of Acts, you see people gathering together and sharing what they have,” Weaver says. “One of the things we can be encouraging any of our churches, whether they’re here in the US or whether they’re abroad, is to be able to say, ‘What are the needs of my people and how am I meeting the needs of my people? … am I helping them solve what their real core felt need is and then be able to minister to them spiritually as well?’”

“How can I intentionally connect with my people—and encourage them to connect with others—without putting them at risk?”

Connection requires intentionality. And when it comes to local churches, Weaver says church leaders need to step up to the plate. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the strife Christians face as individuals, but what about others?

“This is a great discipleship opportunity for all of us, not just in the developing world, but here in the United States is to say, ‘I’m leading somebody,’ you know. I think we all have heard this, ‘Somebody’s watching you and somebody’s following you, whether you know it or not.’”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Alex Anhalt

CALL TO ACTION

  • Pray for church leaders considering how they want to reopen.
  • Ask God to give wisdom and compassion to believers around the world.
  • Thank Him for the kindness some believers have the chance to show to their neighbors during this pandemic.

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