With the current pandemic of the COVID-19 throughout the world, we often ask some broad spiritual questions. Such questions include: Why do such viruses occur? Why does God allow such harmful things?
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March 16, 2020
Yesterday pastors and churches across our state were dealing in various ways with the current health crisis. I actually was in the far southwest part of the state that, as of yesterday, was not as impacted as other parts of the state. School closures, business impacts, and now impact on church ministry is being felt.
Today, and the week ahead, everyone will be seeking wisdom and ways to adjust and respond to all the news and immediate realities. Also, we are dealing with rapid change, news, and even rumors of news. Just now President Donald Trump issued new 15-day guidelines. I know you have many concerns and burdens upon you as you lead and as you care for your own family.
Earlier today I met with our team from across Virginia and have also been in consultation with pastors. We are also working with Virginia Emergency Management on how churches may be able to respond and assist. I have also been in communication with our national Southern Baptist leadership.
Like you, we are dealing with this developing situation day by day and moment by moment. A few updates:
1. We will be sending you communication in various methods that will seek to increase information flow for you and also will specifically seek to assist you. This week we are reaching out to you via mass communication and our staff team wants you to know they continue to be available via cell phone and email.
2. Our intention is to offer a statewide Zoom call this Wednesday for SBC of Virginia pastors. A link will be sent to pastors once this is set up. If we max out capacity, we will offer it a second time.
3. We will also be seeking ways to facilitate communication and networking among pastors and church leaders as we try to help one another navigate this crisis. Pastors need to be able to share ideas and support one another. We are working on multiple ways to try to assist. As your church develops plans and ideas of how you are responding or if you have additional questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Our team is working with our state emergency officials on humanitarian needs here, and with our Southern Baptist leadership, on ways we can do ministry both here and support the global reach of our missionaries.
5. We are in touch with pastors and church planters across Virginia as we seek to network, assess needs, and also care for you as you serve.
Each week, and sometimes day-to-day, we will be seeking to provide you with up-to-date information on how churches can serve, specific ideas and concerns pastors are sharing as they minister in this unique moment, and ways we can help each other serve. More specifics will follow as we work to process the developments each day.
March 11, 2020
Glen Allen, Virginia — The Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia (SBC of Virginia) is monitoring the related effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how this can directly impact ministry work here and abroad. The SBC of Virginia has many events scheduled throughout the year. We will continue to work hard to keep registered attendees informed if any changes occur related to this concern.
However, we recognize that ministry and the work of the Lord’s church must move forward. In fact, you may find increased ministry needs during this time and opportunities to share the Gospel as people are reminded that we need hope, peace, and answers only found in knowing the living and resurrected Christ.
Obviously, churches and the SBC of Virginia will want to utilize best practices at events and gatherings. Like our neighbors across the US, we are looking to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other medical experts to advise us on best decisions when it comes to gatherings and traveling: CDC Resources for Community- and Faith-Based Leaders
You may be dealing with questions about impacts on international mission trips and ministry travel. Our SBC International Mission Board is monitoring the situation abroad and making recommendations. The IMB recommends that mission volunteers postpone trips through April 30, 2020. You can find more in their March 9, 2020 article: IMB recommends mission volunteers postpone travel due to coronavirus risk.
The work of missions and ministry goes on both here and around the world. We are blessed as Southern Baptists to have ambassadors for Christ serving across our nation and around the world. Thank you for your continued praying, giving and ongoing support as it is critical.
Finally, each church will determine its own way of caring for and communicating about this health concern. Here is one example: McLean Bible Church’s Coronavirus Update. Our team will continue to work to network our churches as we help one another and co-labor in the work of the Gospel, even as we find ways to respond to this current challenge.
The anxiety in our communities demands that the church proclaim the truth of Scripture. Consider the words Paul wrote to Timothy: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” — 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
Your brother in Christ,
How the church can respond to the coronavirus.
This article is intended as a starting point for your church as you are planning to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ERLC will be updating this resource as this fast-moving situation progresses.