Before We Gather

Taking the Touch Out of High-Touch Areas

Churches around the country are beginning to think about preparing to resume normal ministry operations. While conducting a deep clean is important, it’s also beneficial for ministries to consider how they can limit possible germ spread in high-touch areas and on objects.

According to the CDC, common “high touch” surfaces typically include tables, doorknobs, light switches, faucets, sinks, and toilets. Churches also will want to consider the other objects or areas commonly touched through the course of their weekly activities.

These surfaces may include:

  • Pews or chairs

  • Bibles

  • Hymnals

  • Offering plates

  • Pens

  • Coffee pots

  • Water fountains

Limit Touch Where You Can

As shelter-in-place orders begin to be lifted and you begin to make plans gather again, ministry leaders are encouraged to pay close attention to how you'll protect your congregation from the spread of germs.

Consider how you can limit or eliminate touch from high-touch surfaces. For instance, you could ask your congregants to bring their own writing utensils, Bibles, coffee, and water bottles, while you make these items temporarily unavailable. Churches who have access to a projector can project lyrics and Scripture references to limit the use of hymnals and pew Bibles.  However, additional licensing may be required to copy lyrics to projector slides. See our Complying with Copyright Law article.

If your church “passes the plate” for your tithes and offerings, consider alternative means of taking an offering for the time-being, like a drop box, or online giving. See our Giving in Digital Times article.

You can address other, commonly touched surfaces by propping open select, monitored doors, if it’s warm enough, or having gloved greeters hold open doors at a safe distance. Additionally, consider closing off certain areas of your building – like low-traffic bathrooms – to concentrate cleaning.

Low-Touch Doesn’t Mean Low-Connection

As churches return to normal ministry operations, it may seem overwhelming to embrace the “new normal” of deep cleanings and limiting touch. That said, churches are encouraged to implement good risk management practices to try to create  safe, healthy worship environments.


The information provided in this article is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.