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RESOURCES FOR REOPENING CHURCHES

With many jurisdictions around the country loosening shelter-in-place restrictions, many church leaders have begun planning for how and when to reopen the church. It is very likely that our pre-lockdown church experience will not be what we experience going forward. The curated resources below offer guidelines and suggestions for churches seeking to safely welcome worshippers back into their facilities.

The Christian Post has published numerous articles on how church leaders are approach reopening their on-site and in-person ministries. Below are a few summary statements on relevant topics. Also available are a wealth of resources by EPC partners and other ministry organizations.

Use these quicklinks to navigate to a specific section:

• Christian Post Considerations
• Checklists, Guidelines, and Other Resources

CHRISTIAN POST CONSIDERATIONS FOR REOPENING

REVIEW STATE GUIDELINES

Churches are taking cues from state guidelines while also evaluating the level of comfort of the congregation. Even if your state allows larger gatherings, your congregation might not be ready. Leave space for flexibility as you communicate with your members, and be comfortable with not having all of the answers. Lean on your leadership team to help you devise creative solutions.

GATHER IN PHASES

Create a system that allows the community to gather in small phases to continue healthy social-distancing measures throughout the week. Then eventually return to larger gatherings on Saturdays and Sundays. One church is using an RSVP system to monitor the number of people that can attend each service until we can gather in large numbers again.

HOUSE PARTIES AND SMALL GROUPS

Most churches are looking to late summer as they prepare to gather in groups again, and are planning to implement small groups—or “house parties” as some are naming them. This will include people gathering within each other’s homes and streaming services together with 10-15 people. It’s going to be vital to keep these groups as small as possible and obey social distancing guidelines initially.

ACCEPT CHANGES IN THE NORM

Take time to acknowledge that some yearly traditions—such as celebrating teachers during a Sunday service—may not happen this year, and intentionally care for those most affected by these changes.

BALANCING VIRTUAL CHURCHES

It will be common for churches to rely on the technological process and systems that they have developed during COVID-19. Pastors may find themselves becoming even busier because they’ll be balancing both virtual and in-person worship experiences. During this time before we gather again, pastors may find it helpful to think about what methods will be most effective for them and their congregation to move forward without burnout.

THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN’S MINISTRY

It’s common for parents and guardians of children to be more comfortable with sending kids to smaller gatherings and events rather than larger ones. This is something that all leaders are having to take into consideration when it comes to the future of Vacation Bible School and other church-wide children’s ministry events. Pastors are looking to data and state regulations for children’s ministry in order to refrain from moving too quickly and causing a major setback.

Leaders are realizing there is no such thing as a regular rhythm of the children’s ministry; it will inevitably experience a major shift after COVID-19. However, the gravity of safety precautions is the top priority of pastors during this global pandemic and the structure of the children’s ministry while planning to gather again.

CHECKLISTS, GUIDELINES, AND OTHER RESOURCES

Checklist for Community and Faith Leaders

Published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Community and faith-based organizations are encouraged to prepare for the possibility of a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in their communities. Use this checklist to protect the health of those you serve and staff in your care. 

Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces

Published by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Reopening America requires all of us to move forward together by practicing social distancing and other daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. Reopening the country also strongly relies on public health strategies, including increased testing of people for the virus, social distancing, isolation, and keeping track of how someone infected might have infected other people. This plan is part of the larger United States Government plan and focuses on cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and can also be applied to your home.

Essential Guide to Reopening Your Church Post-COVID-19

Published by ChurchLeaders.com

This Essential Guide to Reopening Your Church Post-COVID-19 provides resources to help you prayerfully reflect on where your church is today, assess the possibilities of what tomorrow may look like, and develop thoughtful plans for living on mission while reopening your church doors to your community.

Guidelines for Reopening Your Church

Published by the Family Research Council (FRC)

Churches should begin putting in place plans to reopen and operate their ministries according to the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as state officials begin lifting orders. What follows are best practices and tips for churches and places of worship to consider when crafting reopening plans.

Church, Don't Let the Coronavirus Divide You

Published by The Gospel Coalition

For church leaders and elder boards everywhere, the last few months have presented a near-constant array of complex challenges related to shepherding a church during the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest complex challenge is perhaps the trickiest yet: how to prudently resume in-person gatherings.

Reopening the Church

Published by The Humanitarian Disaster Institute and National Association of Evangelicals (NAE)

The church never actually closed — just the doors to our buildings. A wealth of resources, including a step-by-step guidebook to resuming in-person ministries; recorded webinar considering when and how to reopen your church; and a variety of tip sheets, articles, and links to resources from NAE members and friends.

Post-Coronavirus Facility Re-Opening Checklist

Published by Smart Church Solutions

We understand that COVID-19 has impacted a large majority of people, especially churches. One of the impacts a lot of people are not yet accounting for is what it will take to get their facility back and running smoothly when we’re able to resume services. As church facility management experts, we have developed a free checklist to help you get back on track.

Reopening Small and Mid-Sized Churches

A discussion led by WIlliam Vanderbloemen, published by The Christian Post

When the government announces that groups of 200 can gather, 85% of churches in America will be able to gather again. But what should that look like? How do you reopen safely? How can we start preparing for operations after such an unprecedented change in the way we preach, gather, and worship? To start working through these challenges, William Vanderbloemen discussed life after COVID-19 with highly esteemed leaders of small to mid-sized churches.

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