Many of us are asking about “when do we go back to church?” Listening to national and state leadership recently, it appears that the decision will rest on the pastor and the local leadership. I encourage you to prayerfully evaluate your own situation, and be ready when that time comes.
This is what we do know:
- We are still under a Shelter-in-Place in Georgia until 11:59 p.m. April 30, 2020.
Governor Kemp indicated that “we are on track” to meet Phase 1. You can go to the following link to see the different phases of America getting back to work. https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/#phase-one
- We know that there are still a lot of people infected in Georgia with the Coronavirus, which is very contagious.
- We know that the elderly and those with health issues are to continue to practice “shelter-in-place.”
- We know that Governor Kemp encouraged places of worship to “practice strict social distancing, and sanitation practices.”
- We know that some of the areas are still on the rise with cases and deaths. Please evaluate your own community, and the cases that they are currently experiencing.
- Last, but most importantly, we as a church want to make sure that we do everything possible to keep our congregations safe and healthy. This is our number one priority!
I know that you are faced with making one of the most difficult decisions that you will ever make as a pastor or church leader. I encourage you not to fret over this, but to prayerfully consider all of the circumstances in your community and with your congregation. It would be wise to consider your church facilities and what your space will allow to keep people safe. Also, consider what your leadership team can handle to make the necessary adjustments required. Every situation will look different, and every local church leadership team will need to decide when to go back to church. I encourage you to make this decision wisely and have peace before proceeding with plans.
A few recommendations to make sure you are R.E.A.D.Y.
- R – Research. There are many webinars and articles that will help you to be a good steward in making sure your church facility is ready for when you do go back. I’m including one for your benefit, but there are many others available online as well. https://kenbraddy.com/2020/04/18/20-questions-your-church-should-answer-before-people-return/
- E – Encourage. Let’s face it! It would be very high risk for some of your people to go back based on their age or physical health. Others will be hesitant to go back because of the situation. Encourage your people to stay connected to the church, regardless if they attend online or on-sight. Treat everyone in your congregation with understanding and patience.
- A – Ask. Don’t be afraid to reach out to me or any of the conference leadership. We are here to help you look at the different options you may have.
- D – Develop. Bring a small team of people together within your church to help make the decision, and decide steps that will need to be taken when you do return. This could be your local Church Administrative Council, Ministry Team, etc.
- Y – You. No one can answer “when do we go back” except for you and your local church. Do not feel pressured to go back too soon based on what other churches are doing. Instead, focus on what is best for you and your people.
We continue to offer coaching for pastors and church leadership. Please make sure you are seeing the post on our facebook page, “LifePoint Ministries Ministers”. I have met with a group of LifePoint Ministers online for the past three Saturday mornings. I plan to do this again on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. If you would like to be a part of the online meeting, contact me for the link to connect.
Carissa and I continue to pray for you and your family. We are also praying for you, as you and your leadership team do what is best for your ministry.
You are loved and appreciated!
-Bishop Tim Lamb