The Quarantined Church

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“Though the Church building may close its doors, what of the body?” 

This last week has got me thinking about how we are to continue being the Bride of Christ at such a time as this. And so, here is a word to the churches that have closed and to those who remain open. Feel free to comment below any other words of encouragement/advice that have helped your church family survive and thrive during this world crisis.

To the churches that have closed their doors: There is no judgment upon you! However, how are you continuing to be “the church?” So long as you are continuing to fulfill your call as part of the body/bride of Christ, then you continue to be the church outside of your brick walls. What does that look like?

  1. Keeping in contact with one another/staying available and “reachable” to the world around you. That means keeping your phone on! Checking emails, and reaching out through these means to others. Other examples:
    • Write letters to the nursing home residents, send care packages to those who are, at the moment, cut off from society.
    • Face-time/call/write to those who are sick, praying over them aloud.
  2. Live streaming sermons (if this is possible) so that church can continue from home, and be an open/ready source to others looking for hope.
  3. Giving/Serving community: This can look like virtually anything, it all depends on how much you are willing/called to give of yourself. As a church or as part of the body, we must be lead by the Spirit and unafraid of where he leads us.
    • This can look like dropping off goods at your local shelters
    • Making sure your elderly neighbor has everything they need
    • Being respectful and helpful toward fellow shoppers (this is a great opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ)
    • Start a local prayer chain, go on prayer walks around your town while still abiding by the law/restrictions of your area.
    • Giving online to your church/local businesses
    • Ordering carry-out at struggling restaurants, writing good reviews of their service at this time might draw more customers to them.
    • Mailing/Delivering bibles/devotionals wherever led/needed

The message here is that the “church” is more than a building and just because its doors may close, the Christian heart should not! Our duty remains and we are designed to be deployed during any form of spiritual attack. Which is exactly what this is. Ask God how you can contribute today and be His light to a hurting world.

To the churches that remain open: Follow the convictions of the Holy Spirit, if you are called to stay open, do so with caution and respect toward your members and those who are overcome with fear. Remain accessible to your fellow men, regardless of whether they come on Sunday or stay home. What should the open church look like?

  1. Skeleton Crew functioning: At this time, you don’t need 5 greeters, 4 ushers, and 15 kids’ ministry workers, nor should your workers feel as though they have no choice but to fill these roles. Less is more, and have a plan B in place for those who don’t wish to serve. (No judgment policy)
  2. Pre-service prayer/worship: I can’t stress the importance of this step! There is power here to affect the atmosphere of your church, and that will, in turn, affect those who walk through its doors. Pray against the virus and fear! Make declarations that your church will be a safe haven to all. This also gives your staff guidance and clarity on how to best minister.
  3. Use common sense: If you play with a rattlesnake, you’re getting bit and you can’t blame God for that. In other words, keep a clean church!
    • You can’t overdo it at this time, just clean, clean, clean! And preferably do some light cleaning before service so that when people walk in, they immediately feel at ease by the aroma of cleaning supplies.
    • Keep bathrooms stocked with soap/the hard to get toilet paper, if you have a changing station have it well stocked and ready.
    • Keep hand sanitizer on tables and avoid serving uncovered/or unwrapped food.
    • Encourage those who have colds/illnesses of any kind to stay home-seriously if you so much as sneeze nowadays people panic.
    • Avoid greeters. No one wants to shake your hand, sorry.
    • If you run a cafe, have permanent markers available so that people can write their names on unmarked drinks.
  4. Re-configure kids ministry: This is entirely up to you, but we have decided as a church to close our older kids/preschool class temporarily and instead offer them little lesson packets/gift baggies during the adult sermon so that they can sit with family and color/read quietly.
    • If you have a nursery/or kids class that is remaining open, do everything possible to reassure parents that you value the safety and health of their children.
    • Have a plan in place for any child who develops symptoms while under your care. (Isolate and notify parents)
    • Keep track of all toys handled and tables/chairs touched during class. Follow your church’s kids’ room closing procedures after service, and then close/lock the door behind you so kids don’t sneak in there unawares.
    • Hand Sanitizer/washing upon entry to class and before snack is a must!
    • Keep a calm and peaceful attitude: Children are aware of the growing tension at home and on TV, they are scared and need the reassurance that everything is going to be ok. You might just be the only person who gets to comfort and demonstrate God’s love to them at this time. (If you are too scared or stressed to serve, don’t. It’s that simple)
    • If you wish to close your kids’ ministry as we did our weekly gift bags involve coloring pages, a take-home lesson to do with family, some crayons, and possibly wrapped suckers/lollipops, and stickers. (items vary based on age)
    • And lastly, if your church can, continue to live-stream sermons and stay optimistic. Plan future events, continue as though you plan on continuing and sow into hope instead of fear. If any serving member is stressed or afraid, pray together before service. This is a time of warfare and we are God’s soldiers. Don’t forget it!

Regardless of what your church decides to do, be a beacon of hope and not of further terror. We are New Testament believers and so I advise focusing messages on the New and avoiding the Old unless your quoting Psalms or something that promotes hope/peace. 

You can have all these things listed above in place and fail to reach anyone if you mirror the world or uphold the belief in an angry God. People are looking for sanctuary and a place to rest in peace, remember that when you write your sermons or post on Facebook. And if you forgot the kind of God you serve, then look to Jesus. He is the example of how we are supposed to be and He demonstrates best who God is and His will for mankind! 

God bless you all and continue to fight the good fight, in Jesus name. Amen. 

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6 thoughts on “The Quarantined Church

  1. Thank you Smiley for this encouraging post. Hope you, your family and church are all okay. I know you have a baby on the way and this is pretty scary times but God is always with us and he sends angels to protect the ones doing good…thank you for that. God bless you and everyone around you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your thoughts on open and closed churches were insightful and well-written. I am over 60, so I won’t be attending church for the duration. I don’t want to be the person who transmits the virus to my 88-year-old in-laws, my 81-year-old running friend or her 90-year-old husband, or my friend battling stage 4 breast cancer. God is with us, even if we are not in a physical church.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for your emphasis on attitude. Whether a church stays open or closes, the motivator should always be love and care for fellow human beings. This is neither a time for grandstanding nor cowering, but to be sensitive to the needs and fears of others.

    Liked by 1 person

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