There are no clear playbooks for churches during this crisis. We are all “building the plane as we fly it.” At this stage there are questions about reopening, and there is a plethora of resources. It may help to have a vetted list. Here are my top suggestions:
Practical, Procedural Perspectives – Ken Braddy’s blogs have been republished considerably without credit, and there is no need to reinvent the wheel when he has already compiled some of the best thinking. Ken is Sunday School Director for LifeWay Resources, which equips 3 million people among thousands of churches. The lead page to his resources may be found here. Here is a highlight of a few:
- Original article – 24 Questions Your Church Should Answer Before People Return
- Follow up, 24 More Questions the Church Should Ask Before People Return
- Reopening the Church: 4 Phases for Orderly Return
- Free COVID-19 Survey to Know What You’re People Are Thinking As They Return. Also, here’s a link to the actual survey that can be adapted for your church.
Best Practices Regarding Virology and Medical Concerns – Centers for Disease Control Guidelines for Faith Communities, is of course the place to start in being medically smart when reopening public spaces. Here is the collection of articles on official guidelines for sanitation, safety, and gatherings for churches.
Missionally Oriented Guide to ReOpening – Stadia Church Planting Plan for ReOpening and Starting Churches During COVID-19, while written for new or young churches, is applicable for all churches. It is a superb guide to phased reopening, unsurpassed in its integration of missional, spiritual, digital, and physical considerations.
General Best Practices for Churches
- Coronavirus and the Church – This page is hosted by the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, and overseen by Rick Warren and Ed Stetzer. It continues to be one of the most comprehensive collection of articles and vidcasts on this subject.
- Vanderbloemen’s ReOpening Church: Leading After COVID-19 – a great source for insights and toolkits –
Real-Life Example of Missional Response – Trader’s Point Christian Church is a multisite congregation with several locations in Greater Indianapolis. Follow this link provided to their page for COVID-19 updates. A good browse through their entire site demonstrates several missionally creative and pastorally sensitive ways this church is responding to the crisis.
Distillations of Insights for Churches of Christ – Interim Ministry Partners (a division of Hope Network) has produced COVID-19: The Path Forward, a thoughtful collection of articles that applies some of the widely distributed insights more specifically to Churches of Christ.
Dr. Carlus Gupton is a Professor of Ministry at HST and co-directs our Doctor of Ministry program. He began preaching at an early age, and has over 30 years of professional experience in ministry for congregations small and large. For the past twenty years, Carlus has maintained an active schedule of consulting, coaching, and intentional interim ministry, having worked with over 100 churches and organizations. He has been with HST since 2014 (adjunct 1997-2013).
Harding School of Theology (HST), a seminary in Memphis, TN, has been equipping ministers since 1958. Accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, and offering degree programs at the master’s and doctoral levels, HST equips Christian leaders to higher standards of ministry scholarship and challenges them to a deeper faith in God. Combining academic rigor and interpersonal connections, HST emphasizes student engagement in ministry as they study. HST is associated with Churches of Christ, is part of the Stone-Campbell Movement, and is part of Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas.