We have had several pastors contact us regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Questions have arisen about canceling services and other events, so I wanted to offer our perspective here at the TBMB and just a word of encouragement.
Since all TBC churches are autonomous, the TBC has no comprehensive policy that dictates actions related to the COVID-19 virus. We encourage every church to consider how and if they will convene weekly services based on their local circumstances. We would advise prudence. Remember, older adults or anyone with an underlying health issue are more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus. Encourage anyone who feels they may be a risk to make a decision based on their particular circumstances.
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Currently there is no reason to cancel church services. However, we recommend several courses of action.
- Double-down on sanitizing and deep-cleaning your churches, have wipes and hand sanitizer available and keep doorknobs wiped down.
- Encourage those who are not feeling well to stay home.
- If possible, facilitate online services even if it is through Facebook Live.
- Encourage alternative ways for people to continue giving their tithes and offerings (online giving, mail, dropping off at church office, offering boxes, etc).
- Leaders, keep communicating with your church members.
Here at the TBMB, our Coronavirus Task Group is daily evaluating a rapidly emerging situation and how the pandemic may affect various conferences and events we host or sponsor. We also want to pass along useful resources that may serve you. Here is a helpful – and free – resource just released by LifeWay Christian Resources (https://ministrygrid.com/coronavirus). This resource is rich with solid information.
Ultimately, let’s remember, our Great God is in control of this virus. Historically in times of crisis, the church rises up to serve people’s physical needs while sharing with them the Words of Life found in the Gospel. Let’s continue to look outward, beyond our church walls, to the opportunity that has emerged.
It is a joy to be on this journey with you, even in challenging circumstances like this virus.
Randy C. Davis
Tennessee Baptist Mission Board