As we begin to see the world slowly but surely reopen, we want to do our best to plan for reopening so that when the time comes for churches to gather again, we’re ready!
How Soon Do I Need to Reopen?
The most important thing to note when planning for reopening is that every church has a different filter.
One church may need to meet in-person sooner rather than later, while another might have found great success with meeting online and can sustain that platform for a longer period of time. No matter which camp you find yourself in, we encourage you to ask yourself some of the following questions as you begin to plan for reopening:
How’s the engagement with my church online?
How’s the engagement with virtual Small Groups?
How’s my church’s giving?
Assessing these areas will help you navigate if your church needs to reopen as soon as possible, making changes in line with governmental guidelines as phases are released, or if your church can continue to meet online until guidelines are more lenient and easier to meet.
What Does it Look Like When I Reopen?
In the end, only you can answer this question. As areas begin to open up and restrictions become less strict, you may find that meeting in-person is a possibility for your church sooner rather than later. Here are two options that we encourage you to consider:
Reopening in phases Once you analyze the restrictions in your area and feel like you can begin meeting again in-person, even if it doesn’t look like a “normal Sunday” would look, you can opt into opening your church back up in phases (i.e., 200 people in the building practicing social distancing, etc.). See the Reopening Checklist below for more details and ideas on reopening in stages.
One grand reopening Depending on how well your church is doing online, you may choose to wait until you can gather together in-person without any restrictions or social distancing. While this may take longer, it may be the easier approach to take, especially if you have limited manpower and resources to implement the necessary guidelines for meeting as phases open up.
In the end, we encourage you to ask yourself this question to determine what option would be best for your church:
Would my church still feel like us if we had to practice social distancing and adhere to the governmental guidelines during services?
Once you have a good idea of how soon you would like your church to gather in-person again and what approach you’d like to take, we encourage you to check out this resource from the Highlands executive team:
This checklist is being used by the Highlands team to determine what church will look like at each phase of reopening, as well as what new guidelines and procedures will need to be in place for gatherings for the foreseeable future.
In the end, only you can determine what is best for your church. However, we encourage you to use the questions and checklist provided as you begin to craft a reopening plan.
For more information on this topic, check out the Planning for In-Person Gathering ARC webinar featuring Chris Hodges, Greg Surratt, and Dino Rizzo, and check out more leadership resources on Grow Online!
Please know that these recommendations were crafted in adherence to the health and safety guidelines for the state of Alabama, and these documents are being updated periodically on Grow Online. The content of this blog may not be the most recent information on this subject, so please consult your own state and local officials when making similar plans for your church due to COVID-19.