Across Arkansas, pastors and their church leadership teams are grappling with preparations for re-opening. These preparations involve questions such as “when do we try to re-open?” and “how do we create the proper social distancing guidelines?” These details are undoubtedly important. The most important questions, however, involve more than simply making people feel safe to return or avoiding any potential liability. Instead, the foundational questions that pastors and church leaders should be asking first are those addressed to Jesus, who is the Head of the Church.
Church leaders need to be seeking the Lord to ask Him for wisdom related to answering these questions. Even more important than those issues, we should be asking the Lord to show us what HE wants to accomplish during this time. What is His agenda? How does He want us to change? What opportunities has He created for the church to minister and advance the Gospel during this time?
Bill Elliff, Pastor of The Summit Church in Little Rock, has created a prayer guide for pastors and church leaders to use as a resource in praying through every aspect of the decision and process of re-opening. Arkansas Baptists know Pastor Elliff as a friend and partner in ministry who has encouraged us to consistently seek the Lord in unified, “extraordinary” prayer. He is a member of the ABSC Prayer Task Force and has led prayer gatherings all over Arkansas.
Elliff has graciously provided this resource for pastors and church leaders to encourage and equip them to make prayer the foundation of every decision in seeking God’s wisdom and plans for re-opening. This guide is an excellent resource for pastors to use personally and to engage their staff and church leaders in praying with them through their re-opening plans.
Deacons, Sunday School teachers, committee leaders, and other leaders in the church should be joining their voice with pastors in crying out to the Lord during this time. This guide provides an effective way for lay leaders to understand the underlying spiritual needs their pastor and leaders are facing as they seek God’s guidance in working through re-opening plans.