church communications

How to Create and Communicate Your Church Reopen Plan

coronavirus church reopen plan
Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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There are indications the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic has passed its peak in many places. Many US states have begun relaxing restrictions on businesses and gatherings. Some churches have already started meeting again in person again to some extent.

Whether your church has already reopened, planning to reopen soon, or not planning to reopen for a while, we here at OurChurch.Com want to stress the importance of having a clear, written reopen plan.

Additionally, we’re going to spend this month helping churches like yours develop and communicate an effective reopen plan that fits the unique circumstances, demographics and calling of your church.

In a moment, I’m going to list 15 questions your church reopen plan should address. But before I do that, I want to touch on two big principles I believe are important to embrace as you develop and rollout your reopen plan.

First, clarity brings peace, while confusion brings fear and discord.

Clear communication is HUGE! If people don’t understand your reopen plan, your reopen plan is vague and haphazard, or your reopen plan doesn’t address people’s concerns, they are going to be afraid to come back. But if your plan and the communication of that plan is clear and thorough, it will go a long way towards alleviating people’s concerns, so they are comfortable returning to worship in person.

Second, there’s no need to rush.

Churches have not been meeting in person for more than a month. They sky has not fallen. Many churches are experiencing unexpected blessings during the pandemic – more personal contact, outreach through live streaming, people joining life groups on Zoom. It’s better to wait and make sure your plan is thorough, safe, and clearly communicated than to rush chaotically back into meeting in person.

Now without further ado…

15 Questions Your Church Reopen Plan Should Address

1) What questions and concerns do the people of your church have?

2) What cleaning processes are you going to implement?

3) How are your greeters going to welcome people?

4) How are you going to ensure services are not too full and safe distancing guidelines are adhered to?

5) How are you going to continue to minister to those who are not ready to meet in person?

6) How are you going to administer the sacrament of communion?

7) How are you going to handle the offering?

8) What are you going to do about coffee, snacks, and socializing before and after services?

9) What new policies and procedures will you have for children’s ministry?

10) What are you going to do about every other ministry – music, youth, men, women, seniors, bible studies, special events?

11) What are you going to do about volunteers who may not be ready to come back yet?

12) What things worked well while you weren’t meeting in person that you want to continue moving forward?

13) Are you going to reopen in phases? If so, what will each phase look like? When will each phase start?

14) How are you going to communicate your reopen plan?

15) How can people communicate their questions, concerns and issues before and during the reopen? And how are you going to respond to them? (No matter what your reopen plan looks like expect pushback – perhaps behind the scenes, perhaps very vocal – both from people who think you’re moving too fast and from those who think you’re being too cautious.)

This list of questions is not exhaustive. The people of your church will likely have many other questions they want answered.

Throughout this month…

We’ll be addressing many of the questions above in greater detail. We’ll add links to them here:

We appreciate your input, feedback and perspective on your church reopen plan, which you can share in this month’s listening post.

We also have an extensive list of COVID-19 Response Resources and Coronavirus Inspirational Quotes to encourage you and share.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9

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And for those of you who we serve with church web design, our church website builder, or church SEO, see our COVID-19 Update.

Comment and discuss… What do you think are the most important questions to address in a church reopen plan? What questions did we leave out?

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    About the author

    Paul Steinbrueck

    Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.