Before We Gather

Making Plans

We'll be compiling resources on this page to help ministries plan to resume their normal operations. Here's just a few of the questions you may be considering as your teams begin to prepare. What will the worship schedule look like? Do we need signage? What new training will our staff and volunteers need? How will we communicate about changes we will be implementing?  When will we resume children's ministry? How do we handle social distancing? What supplies do we need?

Posted May 22, 2020: Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith by the CDC - these recommendations help churches as America opens again.

Learn about the three phases for opening America safely, discussed in this PDF: Guidelines - Opening Up America Again by The White House and CDC.

  • Pastoral Wellness: Resilient pastors take time for self-care

    For many pastors, coronavirus has either disrupted or catalyzed how they view their ministry’s purpose. While some are excited about new opportunities to advance their mission, others may be struggling with the additional burdens of shepherding from a distance.

  • Pastoral Care: Gaining Perspective and Recognizing Burnout

    How are you doing? This simple yet complex question can yield amazing insight into how pastors are thinking and feeling right now. Denny Howard, director of counseling and coaching for Full Strength Network, has spoken with more than 60 pastors over the last few weeks.

  • Staffing the Children's Ministry

    You may find that some volunteers in your children's ministry may not be ready to resume their roles at this time. If you do find a void, remember that it is important to not only select the right volunteers for the right jobs, but to also screen your volunteers.

  • What does children's ministry look like going forward? 

    As ministries begin gathering, there are still many questions about how to safely and effectively teach children and youth. Each ministry will need to decide what’s best for their own congregation, but the following tips may help minimize the spread of respiratory illnesses as you consider how and when you’ll gather your children and youth.

  • Children's Ministry Prep - Cleaning and Disinfecting

    Stepping up your cleaning and disinfecting practices can help minimize the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19 when you return to children and youth ministry activities.

  • Before We Gather - Planning for Social Distancing

    What does social distancing look like at church? We’ve compiled a list of areas to consider so your team can begin making plans. Be sure to let your attendees, staff, and volunteers know about any changes and what to expect in advance.

  • Before We Gather - Back to Work, Back to Basics

    Your ministry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic may have ranged from a complete shutdown to an entirely new way of reaching your congregation. Ramping up in-person operations requires a careful plan, too, especially if you are rehiring furloughed or laid-off employees, recalling volunteers, or even hiring new workers.

  • Before We Gather - Deep Clean and Disinfect

    Stepping up your cleaning and disinfecting practices can help minimize the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19 as you return to worship services. The coronavirus may be viable for hours to days on chairs, desks, pews, counters, door handles, phones, computer keys, microphones, and more.

  • Before We Gather - Communication Reduces Fear and Increases Connection

    As your ministry makes plans to resume normal operations, ongoing communication with your employees, volunteers, and congregation remains an important element. Open communication about what to expect and any changes you plan to implement will help alleviate fear and anxiety.

  • Before We Gather - Taking the Touch Out of High-Touch Areas

    It’s key for ministries to consider how they can limit possible germ spread through high-touch surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, faucets, sinks, toilets, touch pads, Bibles, coffee pots, pens, water fountains, offering plates, and more.

  • Before We Gather – Facilities Preparation

    As you prepare for a gradual return to normal operations, you may be wondering how your ministry can prepare its facilities to address health and safety. There are steps you can take now to make sure your facilities are ready.

  • Activity Participation Agreement for Ministry and School

    This sample agreement can be used for ministry or school. Ensure participants understand risks and protect your ministry from liability by having participants sign an activity participation agreement.