Updated May 22, 2020.
Before We Gather
As your ministry gears up to resume normal church operations, you may be curious about how to use social distancing to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. You can learn more about the benefits of social distancing (avoiding close contact; keeping 6 feet apart when in public) in this article from the CDC: social distancing recommendations. What does social distancing look like at church? We’ve compiled a list of areas to consider so your team can begin making plans. If your ministry does decide to use social distancing measures, communication will be key. Be sure to let your attendees, staff, and volunteers know about any changes and what to expect in advance. Download a guide for resuming worship and gatherings at church.
Partnership works both ways. The churches of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention have partnered together for over sixty years to support missions and church planting from the smallest of our communities to the ends of the earth. We are grateful for your generous help in funding mission efforts through our convention to the ends of the earth. Today, your church may need some help to make it through these days of challenge. On April 17, the MWBC Executive Board set aside undesignated reserves to help MWBC cooperating churches through the financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus. Download the grant application below.
Reopening the Church
As federal and state guidelines are changing from quarantine and shelter-in-place to reengagement with businesses and communities, it is imperative to understand that the world has changed significantly. The church has changed, as well, with respect to how we worship, equip, and, above all, make disciples. As government “orders” were peeled back like layers of an onion, so implementation strategies for returning to public gatherings, church events, and public worship will experience a “rolling out” of guidelines. Some states should anticipate different guidelines county by county. Download the practical conversation guide below.
MWBC Disaster Relief Covid-19 Assist
Letter to Pastors on Mar. 18, 2020
I know you are leading well your congregations as you minister through the COVID-19 pandemic. We want you to know we are praying for you and stand ready to serve you in any way we can.
First, I have attached a pastoral article I wrote yesterday morning. I hope it will be an encouragement to you and to your congregation. God is in control.
Second, many of you were perfectly ready to handle this challenge with online worship broadcasting (such as Facebook Live) and online giving. Some of you may not be prepared and might need some help in these areas. Please let us help you.
Na Herr has posted an article and video offering assistance on using Facebook live. For Sunday morning emergencies call Na on his cell phone, 612-293-6471. If you have questions or need help, contact Na Herr firstname.lastname@example.org. We would encourage you to try this feature before Sunday morning so you are confident and sure of how it works.
Second, we recommend you visit www.lifewaygenerosity.com/coronavirus and sign up for online giving. LifeWay has, just hours ago, put together a special deal to make sure SBC churches have online giving:
- No set up fees
- No monthly subscription fees
- No technology or website experience needed
- Normal credit card processing fees still apply (2.89% + .30)
- All they need is a little bit of information like church name, address, bank account number, etc.
- They will set up a custom giving page for you and post it live online!
- All you need to do is promote the unique giving page to your people and they will take care of the rest.
LifeWay is providing free Kids Resources for families at https://kidsministry.lifeway.com/2020/03/13/lifeway-kids-at-home/. These activities will help provide Bible activities for children while Sunday School and Kids Clubs are not able to meet.
Dave Wedekind and Ben Seamans are also working on Disaster Relief opportunities for our churches to minister in their communities. Opportunities include connecting you with local emergency management to provide food preparation, food and resource delivery to people in need, and chaplaincy. Please connect with Dave email@example.com and Ben firstname.lastname@example.org if you think your church might be able to meet some of these needs. Additionally, please find attached a check list for planning through keeping your congregation connected and mobilized to meet needs.
Some of you may have church insurance coverage that may cover the loss of offerings in the event your church is ordered to close because of this crisis. Please contact your insurance company for more information.
Guidestone has some excellent resources available on their website on Coronavirus preparation and information. https://www.guidestone.org/Promotions/Coronavirus
Finally, we are working on a tool, BlessEveryHome.com, that will provide your church contact information on your member’s neighborhoods. Churches can use this information to pray for their neighbors and offer no-contact assistance to those elderly who are most vulnerable and have needs that could be easily met by your church (toilet paper, can goods… etc.).
God is not surprised by a virus, and we have every reason to believe He will use even this to His glory. Tennessee Baptists are already indicating that the Lord is working in the midst of the crisis. On a conference call a few hours ago, Randy Davis, the executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Convention noted that online worship attendance in Tennessee exceeded normal attendance and that a tremendous number of responses were recorded through the online invitations.
Finally, if you or your congregation has a special need, please don’t hesitate to call on us. We will pray with you, and we will do all we can to connect you to resources and relationships that will help you. You are in our hearts and prayers as you lead.
Grateful for each of you,
Leo A. Endel, DMin.
519 16th St SE, Rochester, MN 55904