NCAG Response to COVID-19 Outbreak
Greetings NCAG! In light of the current social and political response to COVID-19 we want to take a moment to empower and equip you to respond well in the current situation. We as NCAG are here to serve you and prepare you to minister despite what obstacles you may face.Our nation stands at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak and though there have been cases reported in NC this is statistically considered a “wild card occurrence”. This describes an occurrence deemed improbable, but it has large and immediate consequences for everyone in an organization.Whatever you call it, it is disruptive and creates uncertainty. Uncertainty for you, your family and the church ministry you lead. Most things you rely on are changing and that is unsettling. Suddenly, it is not business-as-usual.How are we to respond to a pandemic? As NCAG, now is the time to lead and pastor. We are presented with a great challenge, but also a great opportunity. I suggest you consider the following:
- At a time of crisis, the world needs pastors to be pastors who exhibit empathy and do acts of love. As Paul says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:12-13
- Don’t dismiss people’s fear. Fear is very real and sometimes emotionally crippling. Pastor them through their fears. At the same time, be honest with your own fear. But a pastor does not peddle or promote fear. In Christ we are people of faith and hope. Acknowledge fear, but offer hope in love. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
- Respect the anxiety and grief of the families whose loved ones have contracted the virus and/or who have succumbed to the disease, even if you never have a chance to meet them. If you know someone, show pastoral care. If you never meet one, show respect to them by monitoring what you say in public forums and social media. If you disagree with the actions of governmental officials or health organizations, keep those opinions to yourself and/or to your trusted friends and off the digital airwaves.
- Work in tandem with your community’s response to the virus. Do all you can to support their efforts to protect the citizens of your community and keep them safe and healthy. This is the time to be the church!
- Seize this moment with your best missional imagination. If you are not permitted to hold large services or gatherings, or you must disband small group gatherings, ask how you may continue to best serve your community. In particular, continue to meet in 1-on-1 situations. Consider the felt needs of the individual and do all you can to serve them.
- Keep track of what you are learning from the Lord as we maneuver through disruptive days. Who knows, but we may be learning valuable lessons in case a day arises when we lose access to people through the loss of public meetings. We may be forced to expand the kingdom of God in new and creative ways. As Pastor Rick has been sharing at our CMI’s this is the time to “Step out of the Boat.”
- Learn from one another. Northshore Church in Kirkland, WA has created a comprehensive strategy as a model for churches to respond to the COVID-19 virus. It is well worth your time to review this document before implementing any procedures with your congregation. Download this document HERE.Stay informed and keep checking our NCAG social media platforms for updates. Know that NCAG is actively monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and will make decisions accordingly if we need to cancel future events.NCAG is committed to walking with you and your church. We will provide timely updates as they become available. Until then, we are praying for you. WE ARE NCAG!