Preparing to Return to In-Person Worship

As April turns to May more and more of us are getting frustrated with the stay at home orders and ready to get back out in our communities. We want to get our hair cut, eat out at a restaurant, walk in to a store without being counted, and go to church. We anticipate that the governor of Texas will continue to relax some restrictions over the next couple of weeks and that leads more and more of our churches, pastors, and members, to want to get back together.

There are some things we should consider before we meet together again. I’ve found some good resources for you to work through as you begin to make those plans. I’ve also got some questions I think you should answer before you get too far down the road of re-opening.

Both of the state conventions in Texas have good material and resources for you. You can find them here: Texas Baptists and SBTC. Here is also a good resource from the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

I believe that each church has to make a decision based on your congregation, your leadership style, your particular situation, and how God is leading you. I also think there are legitimate reasons to resume sooner and reasons to delay a return to a normal schedule. I’d be happy to visit with you if you just need someone to bounce ideas off of as you consider when and how you will return to in-person worship services.

Here is my list of questions:
1. What have we done in the past 6 weeks that we want to keep doing? What will it take to keep doing these things once we have congregational worship? Do we need to train new volunteers? Do we need to change our weekly routine?

2. Knowing that it is important that we do everything we can to help people feel at ease in worship: How are we going to clean the building in between services? Between Sunday morning and evening and Wednesday evening? What about cleaning children’s areas?

3. Social Distancing: Where will we sit? How will we enter/exit the building? How will we greet one another? Is the meet and greet time a thing of the past in our church?

4. Some people will not be able to come or feel comfortable coming to church yet. Will you still offer online opportunities for them to worship and have Bible study? What if some members decide they like staying at home watching church on tv and they are tempted to not come back to church at all?

5. Will you start with small groups first, worship first, or both? What if small group leaders don’t want to gather yet? Do you have people to fill all the leadership spots to have in-person services?

6. What if someone gets sick, or even a group gets sick after coming to worship services? How will we respond? Who will speak for the church? What will we say and not say to media requests?

I’m sure there are many other questions we have to ask as we go through this unprecedented time. Comment below with other questions, thoughts, answers you have. “We’ve never done it that way before” has now become true for us all!