Public Health and Safety Emergency Continuity Planning For Your Church

by Dr. Paul Raybon

We hope that the following ideas from our partner, Paul Raybon, can help guide your church in these challenging days of the pandemic.

Who is empowered to make decisions? Health and safety issues may develop too quickly for deliberative processes.

What are triggers for implementing changes? Deciding these up front can prevent rehashing at every point. You might want to consider these areas:

Connection/Communication

What information/encouragement do we need to convey?

How (by what means) will we communicate both online and offline?

Who is responsible for communicating to whom?

When/how often do we need to get the word out?

How will contact persons communicate feedback to people who need to know?

Worship/Faith Formation

What worship and formation experiences can be extended beyond and instead of physical gatherings?

What elements are crucial/helpful for helping people worship?

How do we encourage interactivity and connection?

Who do we know that can help us extend worship/formation to our congregation and community via web/radio/mail etc?

When/how often can we provide those experiences?

Pastoral Care

What are visiting guidelines for local institutions?

How do we convey care and prayer for those we cannot physically visit?

Which staff and deacons are able to make contacts and communicate feedback?

How will we deal with deaths/funerals/weddings?

Ministries

What ongoing ministries, on which people depend for sustenance and care, can we maintain?

What ministries need to be suspended?

What resources are available to meet needs? How limited are those resources?

How will we communicate with ministry participants?

How can we find safe alternative means of meeting needs?

Who is available/able to meet those needs?

Administration – Who is responsible for answering these questions and delegating responsibilities?

What digital backup copies of financial, membership, and operational files are in place?

What documents/materials are needed for remote operations during a campus shutdown?

What contact information is available to leaders during campus shutdown?

How can phone/computer systems be used to receive and forward calls, and check messages?

How can offerings be collected and deposited? Are online and bank draft methods in place?

How can we pay bills/do payroll/check mail?

Who is back up for bookkeeper/treasurer?

How will sanitation be maintained?

What parts of building need to be secured? When? By whom?

How will we take care of hourly employees?

What are alternative sources of funding?

By what mechanism can we access savings, designated funds, and endowments to keep church operating?

These thoughts above are from Dr. Paul Raybon, our partner in ministry for Western North Carolina. He is an associate pastor at Hominy Baptist Church near Asheville, NC and works with churches and leaders in the Western Carolinas as a coach and consultant. For more information about how he can help you, contact him at 828.713.6986 or paulraybon@bellsouth.net.

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