Julianne Harris Church Marketing University

Julianne Harris is a copywriter* & customer service rep for Church Marketing University.  She has her BA in communications from Thomas Edison State University and had the privilege of interning at Friendship Church in 2019.  Her favorite thing about her ... read more

Your church coronavirus plan matters.  Why?  Because in the midst of panic, it’s important that we model the faith, courage, and peace that comes from having a relationship with Jesus.  It’s also a great opportunity to minister to people during a frightening and isolating time.

So, what should your church do in response to the Coronavirus outbreak?  Ultimately, that will depend on a lot of factors, such as your church’s location, the severity of the outbreak in your area, and the demographics you serve.  As church leaders, you’ll have to prayerfully consider your approach.  In many cases, this means you’ll find yourself needing to use some creative ways of connecting, communicating with, and serving people.  Thankfully, we live in the best time to do just that, with tons of digital tools at our disposal.

We know that no matter what happens, we serve a God who is all-powerful.  Nothing that happens surprises Him, and He will never leave us nor forsake us.  Therefore, we know that He will not leave us helpless.  We have His Spirit to encourage, convict, and guide us.  And, while they will never replace spiritual gifts, He’s also given us online tools.  In His grace, He’s already prepared us for this outbreak by giving us everything we need to bring the gospel into the very homes of our neighbors!

What wonderful God He is, and what a great time to be His hands and feet in the world!  So Church, let’s get to work!

Your Church Coronavirus Plan

Creating a church coronavirus plan:

  1. Determine how you’ll communicate with your congregation.
    1. This involves creating a plan for communicating about your Sunday/weekend services (whole church communications).
    2. It also involves making sure you reach out to those in small groups.
    3. If possible, find ways to support and bring your community together electronically during this time.  We need the encouragement of our brothers and sisters in Christ!
  2. Consider how you can serve your community during this outbreak.  While you’ll want to take every precaution to protect those susceptible, this is a great opportunity to share the love of Jesus!
  3. Look into resources like live streaming, video conferencing, and Facebook groups.  These tools can help you keep your services and small groups going electronically.
  4. Make sure you’re set up for online giving.  If possible, you will want to look into options that allow recurring giving- like Pushpay, RebelGive, and Tithe.ly.  This way, your church can still pay the bills and fund ministries during the outbreak.  However, in a pinch, you can also accept donations via your church’s Paypal account or start a Facebook fundraiser.
  5. If you haven’t already, tune into the conversations happening in Facebook groups like Church Communications and Church Marketers, so you can hear from other church leaders about the strategies their church is using to keep people safe.
  6. Make a plan for Easter and start practicing right away.  If, as predicted, the virus continues to be a threat over the next month, your Easter services will take a hit.  As Barbara Carnerio says, “Churches have a tremendous opportunity to pivot and pivot fast. Live streaming or Facebook Live are just a click away. You can pivot now and start casting vision for online giving and other activities before you are forced to.”  You can read her full post here.
  7. If your school, work, or other activities are cancelled in your area, use your extra downtime wisely!  You can pray for your community, organize grocery deliveris for the elderly, bond with your kids, or even develop a church crisis response plan so the next crisis isn’t quite as overwhelming.

Gentle reminder:

In the US, many areas are still in the early days of the outbreak.  There’s a lot of skepticism regarding the virus.  Here’s the deal: no one knows how the Coronavirus will spread, or if the panic is warranted.  Here’s what we do know:  Even if the virus doesn’t affect your community in any substantial way, there are still people there who are extremely frightened by it.  Your church won’t be able to offer them the hope and love of Christ if you refuse to be sensitive to their concerns.

If you subscribe to Church Marketing University, here’s what we recommend.

As a CMU member, you have extra resources at your disposal.  These are the places we recommend you jump in:

  1. Get plugged into our members-only Facebook group.  Inside, you’ll find real-time coaching on strategies for handling with this outbreak, including Ryan Wakefield’s “Don’t Let the Coronavirus Stop Your Church” Course.  💯
  2. Check out our Live Stream Course.  If you want to start or expand your live streaming ministry, this is the place to be!
  3. Check out our Generosity Series.  This bonus course can help if you’re worried that decreased attendance will affect giving and, as a result, stunt your ongoing ministries.
  4. Our Facebook Groups Course.  Starting/having a thriving Facebook group for your church could be the key to keeping your community in contact throughout this crisis.
  5. Our Social Media and Instagram Courses.  If you want to learn how to use these tools effectively in order to communicate with people in your area, these courses are a great place to start.
  6. Finally, use the CMU materials to develop and train volunteers!  Our conferences and courses are totally digital, and they’ll teach your team the principles behind what they’re doing.  Who knows?  Maybe God will use this time to develop a renewed heart for ministry among your volunteers!

Further Reading:

Here are some other great resources on developing your church coronavirus plan.  We will add to these sections as information becomes available.

Coronavirus Resources for the Church by Wheaton College.  There’s a manual, a planning template, and you can even sign up for a webinar!

The official CDC resources on Coronavirus.  If you want sound, fact-based information about the Coronavirus, this is where to look.

The All Things Coronavirus Google Doc from Northshore.  This is one Seattle church’s response to the outbreak, and they’ve generously made all of it free/fair use for other churches.

Four Ways to Pray surrounding the Coronavirus, from the Assemblies of God.

The Coronavirus: Choosing Love in a Time of Fear by Nathan Betts

5 Things Churches Should Do in the Wake of COVID-19 by Keith Robinson

Should Your Church Stop Meeting to Slow COVID-19?  by Daniel P. Chin for Christianity Today

Plans/Communications regarding COVID-19 from Other Churches

If your church has something to share, let us know in the comments below!  That way, we can all help each other.

Bellevue Presbyterian Church

Bethany Church

Central Peninsula Church

Champion Forest Baptist Church

Christ Church

ChurchHome

Crossroads Bible Church

Eastside Church

The Exchange

Liquid Church

NewLife

Princeton Alliance Church

Shepherd Church

The Rock Church

Venture Church

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