Lewis McClendon  BCMN

I want to thank the pastors who responded to the Coronavirus survey. I know you are busy, but your responses will be a help to pastors who are making decisions about what to do next.

Thirteen pastors responded to the survey. This is not a large survey, but some of the comments may be helpful to you.

If yes, what percentage attended?

The responses showed a low of 50% attendance with a high of 90% attendance. The average of all responses was 77% attendance.

If yes, will you allow more than the limit of assembling by your state?

Three of the churches would allow more to come utilizing several rooms and broadcasting the service to those rooms or schedule several identical services during the day.

Three of the churches would allow as many as wanted to come to their regularly scheduled services in the auditorium.

If yes, what is your plan?

  • “Individual visits, phone, text, Social Media, Streaming Facebook Live services at regular scheduled gathering times, phone calls to elderly, Whatsapp, weekly video messages and splitting up our congregation amongst our staff.”
  • “We plan to have regular messages and devotions streamed on Facebook and YouTube that they can watch. Also, we send out regular emails and text messages. For those who don’t internet or Facebook or can’t receive texts we have had families in the church adopt those members and agree to check on them regularly to assure that their needs are met and they stay informed.”
  • “We are communicating or staying in touch with our members with daily devotional thoughts on Facebook Monday through Friday, and we also have our Leadership Staff and ABF teachers calling members to check on them. We also use the Phone Tree to do massive communication with our total membership. We will also continue to have online worship service on Sunday mornings along with our live radio broadcast.”
  • “We are making phone calls, setting up appointments for home visits and appointments at the church office, sending cards.”

If yes, what is your plan?

  • “Individual visits, phone, text, Social Media, Online instructions videos and by Streaming Facebook Live services at regular scheduled gathering times, letters, and encourage people to drop their offering off at the church office.”
  • “We have electronic giving set up and we are offering assistance to any who would like to use it during this time and need help setting it up. They can also mail it in or have someone pick it up.”
  •  “We have communicated that through our online worship service, and we may also use Facebook or the Phone Tree after we get past this first week and see where we are financially.”
  • “We put this in our “statement letter” that we issued concerning our temporary modifications to our services.”

If yes, what cautionary guidelines, if any, would you suggest to churches who are encouraging people to give during this National Emergency?

  • “People might not get paid or have their income delayed in some way, or they may use their giving to meet their own personal needs.”
  • “Give without caution”
  • “I would caution churches with their spending during this time. We have told our leadership Staff that all unnecessary spending is on a freeze until further notice. Also anything that they plan on spending from their budget now needs prior approval before purchase.”
  • “Instructing them to send them to our P.O. Box address for better security.”
  • “We issued it like a side note and not like it was our most important issue”

Ted House reported they lost the facility their baby church was meeting in in Springboro, Ohio.

(I know of a church meeting in a school in the Dayton, Ohio that was told they could no longer meet in the school)

What are your concerns about canceling services at your church?

  • “The Coronavirus has caused such fear of large gatherings, I am concerned after canceling services for 3 weeks or more that people will be hesitant to return to a normal routine of being in church services.”
  • “Keeping our people connected to the ministry and each other.”
  • “The comfort and encouragement that they will not get.”
  • “Salvations and baptisms.”
  • “No corporate prayer”
  • “The increase of panic and hysteria by not giving the church family some kind of normalcy.”
  • “Getting people back in the habit after the crisis.”
  •  “Collection of offerings”
  •  “Inability to deal with the issues and finances”
  • “Getting people back into regular attendance. It’s too easy for the flesh to enjoy staying home and “watching Church.”
  • “The ability to keep in contact regularly even with the system we have in place. I don’t anticipate any long-term loss of members. We just want to be able to assure our folks of God’s love and power and control. We are also pointing out that this is a great way for the church to show God’s love and power to a lost and dying world. A pastor friend shared that God can use this to get his children out of the building and out into the world where the message of the gospel is most needed.”
  • “Personal contact/ continued spiritual growth”
  • “People getting out of church completely, not having the fellowship we all need, People not giving adequately in order to keep the church up and running, and the message it sends to people that we just tuck our tails and run when times get tough.”
  • “The people becoming unfaithful.”
  • “We have some great connection groups and leaders, so my only concern is the fellowship with others for encouragement, edification, and exhortation.”
  • “Missing out on the encouragement we receive from one another when we gather together. I am concerned about the impact this will have on spiritual growth, financial giving to fund local and foreign ministries, and the sense of unity we develop through regular attendance.”

What assistance do you anticipate you may need to provide for the people who attend your church?

  • “Some of our members may need someone to pick up groceries, run errands, etc. We have communicated to our membership that all they have to do is contact us and we will be there to help.”
  • “Delivering groceries, medicines, and supplies to those who can’t get out”
  • “Evaluation is in progress.”
  • “Possible delivery of food or medication”
  • “For our elderly members who don’t have anyone else or at-risk members who are alone we are planning to assist with food, medicine, transportation as needed. We have a team of volunteers and a unique phone number they can call monitored 24 hours a day. We also have staff and counselors available to pray and counsel with anyone who is fearful or has concerns spiritual or otherwise.”
  • “Prayer”
  • “None at the moment”

What advice, cautions, encouragement, or counsel do you have for other churches?

  • “This is a great opportunity to point our people to the Lord. Encouraging our people to trust the Lord and not to be overcome by fear is very important. During a national crisis like this, it’s time for our Christianity to become real.”
  • “Health, safety, and welfare of the people is of utmost importance. Be aware of copyright laws when it comes to using music in your broadcasts.”
  • “Don’t over react.”
  • “We need God’s Wisdom.”
  • “I’m sure there’s nothing new. Just the encouragement to take the admonition of the Scriptures to keep our focus on the Lord, enjoy the peace and calm the Spirit gives, and keep a sound mind.”
  • “What a great opportunity for the church to be the church, so many churches live streaming services for the first time. Beware of scare tactics – God has given us the spirit of peace and love – NOT fear. We must trust God BUT it doesn’t mean that we fail to act wisely and decisively – faith doesn’t mean we turn off our brains.”
  • “Inform/ encourage/ follow guidelines as instructed for safety of people.”
  • “Just let God lead you regarding the decisions you need to make concerning your specific church and congregation.”
  • “Make prayer wrapped decisions, listen to your people and local physicians, and love them.”
  • “Take full advantage of social media and the opportunity it provides in keeping in touch with your congregation.”

What information from other churches would be helpful to you?

  • “I have just been calling preacher friends to do Talk Therapy. We need each other. Lots of hard decisions!!”
  • “What they are doing through this time. And, what plans are there for the long term.”
  • “Just what they are doing to keep reaching out while trying their best to observe the restrictions that we have.”
  • “How to live stream.”