Coronavirus thoughts for small to mid-size churches

These are hard, unpredictable times.

Many of us have been caught off guard with the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought the world—and our worship services— to an abrupt, temporary halt.

Here are four tips to consider as you pastor during this unprecedented season.

1) Resurrect the snail-mail newsletter for every family in your congregation.

Most of us have greatly benefitted from modern technology, but in this season, consider revisiting the benefits of snail-mail newsletters. Include prayer requests for other church members, missions updates and anecdotes on how the church is serving communities during this time.

2) Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to those who don’t give online to encourage and equip them to continue giving financially to their local church.

The financial implications of the coronavirus are unnerving. It has been said that about half of giving in churches today is online. This means the other half of congregants give only when they are physically going to church.

With many churches postponing large group gatherings for at least a few weeks, giving could decrease dramatically. To remove as many barriers to giving as possible for our members, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the half of your church who doesn’t give online.

3) Send your congregation a weekly, family worship guide.

Despite the inconvenience of the new coronavirus, families have opportunities to worship together in their homes. Help equip them by sending a simple family worship guide (here’s an example you can use) that walks them through worship together on Sunday as a family.

4) Encourage your congregation to watch someone else preach.

There are many great Southern Baptist Churches streaming their sermons online. Encourage your congregation to watch someone else preach while you use your time to pastorally care for people who are fearful and disconnected, instead of figuring out how to work Facebook live. This is an opportunity for you to help guide your people to feed themselves spiritually.

As you are walking in faith and serving your church, remember the words of Christ, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, CSB).

This article is an adaptation of an episode of “Monday’s with Mark”. For more tips on shepherding your congregation during stressful seasons, watch the full episode here.

In these uncertain and unpredictable days, we want to help pastors, like you, by caring for your soul and family in the midst of crisis. Join the Pastor’s Care Cohort today—and every Monday— at 2 pm EST.

By Mark Clifton, senior director of replanting at the North America Mission Board.

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