“We can’t just tell people to socially distance. We need to be concrete and let them know what that actually means—maybe that’s even tape on the ground. You’ve probably even seen in the last couple of weeks, people don’t always judge that distance well, so we have to be as concrete and specific as possible.” — Dr. Jamie Aten
“We have to stop and ask ourselves if the way we used to do things is the way we should do them going forward across the board. And that includes when we’re thinking about something like the Lord’s Supper. I don’t know how we get back to what we did in the past. One thing I’ve seen some churches do is mail those pre-packaged wafers and glasses to people’s homes. If you are plate deciding how far people can sit from one another and they’re socially distancing in the pews, then you would be placing them actually at those seats. From my view, anything else is too risky at this point. Until we have a vaccine, I think we should be maintaining those practices of distance and precaution.” — Dr. Nicolette Louissaint
“What we are proposing is yes, use the pre-packaged kits. Either have the pre-packaged kit already at the seat that we’re using, because that reinforces the fact that we have distanced and set aside the space that we will be using for seating. The other option is to have one or two people, depending on church size, assigned to the entryway: one way in, one way out. Not closing those off because of fire regulations, but asking people to use one door for entry and one door for exit. And then handing out the kits as they enter.” — Rev. Dr. Miriam Burnett
“Most churches are telling us that right now their offerings are great, people are giving online. We thank God for the increase in online giving, but think about it this way: most of us don’t have a whole lot competing for our dollars right now. People are not going on vacations. They’re not traveling a whole lot. They’re not going to the mall. We’re sheltered in place. So we’re asking our churches to think through what this will look like after the states open up and those dollars, now we’re competing again. So what does that mean for our budget? Will that mean a shifting of staff members?” — Pastor Michael Henderson
“One of the things that we’re looking at is for the foreseeable future, as churches return, to recommend that for a short season, they set down children’s church and worship together as families. It will be a challenge, but children are so vulnerable, and I think if something happened to someone’s child, I don’t know that that church would ever recover. So we’ve taken the approach, for at least the foreseeable future, to look at shutting down children’s church, doing something online through the week, and if people are going to come to physical worship when we do resume worship, to have families worship together.” — Pastor Michael Henderson
“Keeping lines of communication open helps us see the concerns of people and identify their sense of loss. We need to understand that when people grieve, there are big and little griefs, such as the griefs of loss of human connection, of the loss of being able to volunteer in the way that you always look forward to, or of being part of hospitality. This debate that we may encounter within our churches, underneath it is the journey of helping people grieve through all of sorts of losses, big and small—to name it, to listen to it, to care for it. That is a profoundly important posture that leaders and pastors should be taking.” — Dr. Walter Kim
For more resources on considering these questions and more—including our new manual, Guide to Reopening Church Services: A Step-by-Step Biblically-Based and Research-Based Approach to Resuming In-Person Ministries—visit reopeningthechurch.com.