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Is Your Church Prepared for Coronavirus?

by | Fri, Mar 13 2020

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Coronavirus

It would be hard not to notice the world is increasingly in the grip of Coronavirus and from current trends, it appears that this will only increase in the weeks to come.

Our Australian Government does not appear to be complacent in their response and in coming days we may see some dramatic moves to slow the spread of this pandemic.

So, what will it mean for churches in Australia?

In the USA, gatherings of over 1,000 people are being encouraged to cancel. So this means large churches, like Jeff Vines’ One&All Church of 15,000 in California and Joel Osteen’s church of 40,000 in Texas, are cancelling in person services as the Coronavirus spreads, and encouraging their congregations to tune into live streams of services.

Large church service

For lots of churches these are unchartered waters since lots of church activity includes meeting together – often in large numbers, praying for one another, taking communion together, shaking hands, and children gathering in Children’s Church and Sunday school.

How resilient is your church if you were banned from meeting together? It’s surely the enemy of any fellowship if you can’t meet together.

Alex Cook, founder of Wealth With Purpose joined Neil Johnson on Vision Christian Radio’s 20Twenty program to discuss a stewardship approach to the imminent threat in some congregations.

“We’ve got a number of churches that we deal with that have a reasonably large sized Asian population,” Alex shares. “And some of those are experiencing a fifty per cent drop in their attendance because of [Coronavirus].”

“Some churches are a little too unaware of what may happen, because it’s been mostly off shore.  I think the risk is that that government actually steps in and says ‘hey look, for the purposes of health and safety don’t meet’.”

Alex Cook
Alex Cook from Wealth With Purpose

“So I think churches really need to start looking at some of those online solutions as soon as they can, and just getting their technology ready.”

“In Australia, [Coronavirus] is very very minor at this point in terms of number of infections. And also thankfully the level of deaths is very low here, so I think we’re fortunate. But as the Prime Minister said yesterday in his national address, it would be foolish to think that it won’t accelerate here.”

“The two big issues I see with it is the ease at which it spreads, and second thing is that you just don’t know if you’ve got it because with most people it’s so mild.  It’s more if you’re over seventy that the risk is far greater.”

Neil shares that at his church last Sunday, people thought others were overreacting by not wanting to shake hands with other.  But there is a sense that for this coming Sunday’s services, people won’t think it’s an overreaction at all – and it will actually be a courtesy in not wanting to spread germs to others.

waving as greeting instead of shaking hands

“When I look at all of this,” Alex continues. “I always try and look at it and say ‘what’s the opportunity here’. I reckon this is a real opportunity for the Church to shine.”

“The stock market is now down by thirty per cent, it makes people nervous and anxious about their future, but as Christians we know the future. Jesus is going to come again at some point, so we’ve got the best news in the world and we need to get out there and share this with people.”

Continue listening to Alex and Neil’s conversation about how the Church should respond to Coronavirus in the podcast below.

Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Click here for your local times.

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Images via Shutterstock.