The congregation I serve has been working hard to handle all of the many and swift changes going on. I share these as options/examples for fellow pastors and congregations working through this.
+ Our Board of Elders is calling all of our members (around 500) to check in on them. Spiritual care is being handled by pastors and earthly cares are being handled by members along with elders leading them. Examples of earthly care are things like childcare (schools were closed today), grocery shopping, medicine refills, etc.. Our under 50 year olds are helping to do the more public things for the over 50 year olds (who are helping make phone calls, gathering information, and checking in with each other).
+ We cancelled all non-essential things at Our Savior. This includes everything but Worship Services. Remember Augsburg Confession, Article V as we move into these anxious times. We are preparing to offer more prayer offices through the week more Divine Services in the case of Attendance caps.
Article V: Of the Ministry.
1] That we may obtain this faith, the Ministry of Teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. For through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, 2] the Holy Ghost is given, who works faith; where and when it pleases God, in them that hear 3] the Gospel, to wit, that God, not for our own merits, but for Christ’s sake, justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake.
4] They condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that the Holy Ghost comes to men without the external Word, through their own preparations and works.
+ We have set up an account with a robo-call service called VoiceShot (nothing fancy but it works)
+ We have promoted electronic giving (and now promoted a giving App from Vanco, who works with LCEF), which was already set up. LCEF is great to work with on this.
+ We have a special “coronavirus” section of our congregational website
+ We have a section on “resources” when stuck at home.
+ We started livestreaming via Facebook Live (very easy to do)
+ The pastors have examined and prepared for pastoral care situations, including some plans for funerals. Everything is case by case, but there are some basic things we have considered and been working on. Pastoral care by phone or other technology is going to be important.
+ We are working to prepare an online Bible Study for our members.