update 3/16/2020 – From Chris Martin, Executive Director/Treasurer: After today’s guidance from President Trump and the Coronavirus Taskforce that Americans “avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people” for the next 15 days, we encourage all of our Hawaii Churches to move their worship to homes rather than on campus for March 22 and 29, 2020. Here is a video with our guidance and suggestions …
Please equip your church family to have a meaningful worship service in their home. Here is a sample family worship guide:
We have collected suggestions for streaming and online giving platforms at the bottom of this article …
update 3/13/2020 – Hawaii Department of Health Guidance on Public Events and Group Gatherings. To protect the public’s health and wellbeing, the Hawai’i Department of Health is recommending large, crowded gatherings or public events that include 100 people or more be postponed or canceled. Read full instructions here …
Our SBC leadership is calling all Southern Baptists “to commit to a dedicated time of prayer this Sunday, March 15, 2020.” Read more here …
Tithe.ly (online giving platform) just posted a really practical article including good instructions and considerations for “The Virtual Church Service.” Note that they are selling their online giving platform so keep in mind you have choices. Read it here …
e-mail sent on 3/12/20 with a call to ramp up rather than pull back on ministry. Read it here …
LifeWay is Providing Free Training and Checklists to Prepare Your Church for the Coronavirus:
With the spread of the coronavirus, we want to help churches take the appropriate measures to plan, prepare, and protect their people from the pandemic. In this free training, you will find 4 videos, 7 ministry-specific checklists, and a sample pandemic policy all for you to contextualize for your church.
Highlights of this free online training …
- How to Create a Pandemic Response Plan for Your Church (video)
- Three Phases of a Pandemic Response Plan (video)
- Sample: Pandemic Response Policy for Your Church (1 page PDF)
- Cleaning Considerations for Your Church (1 page PDF)
- Pandemic Response Checklist for Guest Services (1 page PDF)
- Pandemic Response Checklist for Kids Ministry (1 page PDF)
- Cleaning Considerations for Kids Ministry (1 page PDF)
From an e-mail sent to HPBC Pastors and Church Leaders on March 10, 2020:
I’ve read Coronavirus related e-mails this week from the president of Hawaiian Airlines, from United, Citibank, and finally, Bank of Hawaii which said, “At Bank of Hawaii, we are committed to the health and safety of our employees, customers, and community, and will remain proactive in our response.”
Your congregation is looking for some type of communication from you. They are looking for you to encourage them to put their trust in Christ alone and they are looking for you to rally them to fervent prayer. But they also want to know what you and church leaders are doing related to Covid-19, if anything.
If you haven’t done anything but are working on it, just say, “We are aware of increased concerns due to Flu season and Covid-19. We are working on ways to protect you and our community when we gather.”
But if you’ve made some adjustments, then be sure to communicate them.
Communicate with whom you’ve collaborated. For example, “A group of church leaders (or deacons, or elders, or staff, or church council) met to discuss the best way to protect you and our community.” Or, “We met with some medical professionals from our community and have made the following adjustments.”
Communicate what you’ve done to prepare the meeting place.
- Let them know if your team is doing additional sanitizing in high touch areas.
- Let them know if you’re doing something special to sanitize the children’s and student areas and any special additional training you’ve provided for leaders in those areas.
- Let them know how you’ll do Lord’s Supper and the offering.
- Let them know if you have hand sanitizer stations.
Communicate expectations of how members will interact physically on Sunday. Are you encouraging members to temporarily forego hugs and handshakes and do elbow bumps or air hugs instead?
An article on churchlawandtax.com put it this way, “To decrease the risk of the virus spreading through handshakes and other routine touch, your pastors and lay leaders may want to make an announcement that they are suspending physical contact and ask that the congregants respect those who wish to do the same.”
Please know that there are many ways that churches respond or don’t respond to Covid-19 concerns. Hopefully, as we make some of these simple adjustments, it will soon be just a memory and everyone can say, “Craig, what was the big deal anyway?”
“A sensible person sees danger and takes cover, but the inexperienced keep going and are punished.”
See accompanying resource links …
From an e-mail sent to HPBC Pastors and Church Leaders on February 27, 2020:
I read a strong article on factsandtrends.net today called, “Is your church ready for the coronavirus?” I encourage you to read it to gain insights on how to prepare your church for a potential public health crisis like the coronavirus.
The 5th point in the article deals with “what if you have to cancel services?”
Barbara and I just got back from Asia yesterday. We cut our ministry trip short because of travel restrictions and warnings. Several of our sister Asia Baptist Network churches are having to make schedule changes because of the threat or perceived threat of the coronavirus. One church in Korea has canceled this Sunday’s worship services. Please pray for these churches.
Have you considered the implications of having to cancel your church’s mid-week services, special gatherings, or even your Sunday morning worship gathering?
I encourage you and your leaders to prepare using the guidance in the article above and by working on live-streaming and online giving.
1. Prepare to live stream your Sunday worship services
Here are a few of the simpler options for live streaming:
Facebook Live free
Youtube Live free
Vimeo Livestream $75 a month
Whatever you do, it’s a learning curve. So start playing with it now.
2. Prepare for online giving
At a church I served in Tennessee, we had to cancel Sunday services due to a winter storm. The loss of offerings on that one weekend had a significant impact on our giving for the year. Imagine having to cancel several Sundays and the impact that could have on your ability to do ministry.
This is one reason to begin helping your church family become familiar with and comfortable with online giving. If you have to cancel a Sunday service, your church family can continue to support the ministry of the church through online giving.
Here are some options for online giving. You will need to work with your finance team and church treasurer to implement this.
I encourage you to start working on this now if you haven’t already done so. Please let us know if there’s any way we can be of help as you do this. We are praying for you!