Returning to In-Person Worship? Don’t Rush, Be Cautious, Prepare

By Rev. Dr. Leah Schade,

Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship

As states begin to “open up” and ease the pandemic, stay-at-home restrictions, we encourage church leaders to take their time and prepare for in-person worship. The temptation to get “back to normal” after such a prolonged period of absence is understandable. However, taking proper precautions to keep our congregants safe will help ensure

people stay healthy and alive in the coming months. For example, practices such as passing the peace need to be amended (or suspended) so that proper social distancing is possible. Passing offering plates and communion vessels should be avoided so as not to risk the spread of the coronavirus.

Being and doing church in the age of COVID-19 involves decisions beyond worship practices. How will we do Vacation Bible School (or should we)? Who will be responsible for wiping down high-traffic areas? Should we continue to offer coffee and donuts, or have fellowship after worship? Knowing that such practices could endanger people’s health and lives, until a vaccine and effective treatment for COVID-19 are available, everything we do in-person requires careful thought and discussion.

This article might help guide your discussions and decisions as church leaders as you prepare for in-person worship: “24 Questions Your Church Should Answer Before People Return,” by Lifeways Christian Resources writer Ken Braddy. –

God’s blessings on your congregation as you discern the best ways to be “healthy at church.”