Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update 3.16.2020

Circumstances have continued to change over the past weekend. I know of at least seven churches in Parker County that chose not to meet on campus in person on Sunday, but almost all of them broadcast a worship service online by livestream. Several others churches experimented with livestream broadcast.

Here are a few updates:

The PBA office is open. For now, the PBA office will observe normal office hours, but we do ask that you observe a few precautions for the health and safety of our staff.

  • If you are sick, please do not visit the office. Call us at 817-599-6586 and we will be glad to help you.
  • Don't be offended if we don't shake your hand, give you a hug or we keep our distance. The staff has been instructed to observe the CDC guidelines of keeping a six-foot distance from others.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes and use the hand sanitizer that we have available.
  • Staff members who have kids at home had planned to work remotely during spring break. Now that spring break has been extended to three full weeks (and maybe the rest of the semester) some of us may not be in the office all the time, but we are available.
  • We are prepared for all of our staff to work remotely if the situation requires us to do so.

Financial assistance is available. Some churches may experience difficulty paying staff and some essential bills during this time. Greenwood Baptist is setting aside 50% of its offering this week in a fund to help PBA churches in need. We also have other churches and resources available to help. Please contact us before you allow your staff to go unpaid or you fall behind on bills.

Video equipment available. Greenwood has also offered use of its video equipment for any pastor wishing to record a sermon that can be posted online in the event that a church is not able to meet in person. This will need to be done during the week.

New CDC guidelines. You have probably heard by now that the Center for Disease Control issued new guidelines on Sunday night suggesting that any gathering larger than 50 people should be cancelled across the nation for the next 8 weeks. There is some question about whether this includes churches.

Word has passed down that the Federal government is reluctant to tell churches whether they can or cannot meet. Still, I am advised that this is the recommendation for now and it is intended to include churches. I understand that to mean that cancellation for groups larger than 50 are recommended for public health reasons, but not required at this moment.

Obviously, this recommendation will last beyond Easter weekend. As I said last week, every church needs to make an informed decision based upon its own situation. There are a number of options, including having multiple services with smaller groups of people. I encourage each church to carefully explore all the options available.

Another crucial consideration. While the question of whether to meet on campus is an important one, the more crucial question might be how we can look outside of our churches to discover ways to be salt and light to our communities. We should not let this opportunity to be a gospel presence among our neighbors that outside of our buildings be overshadowed by our anxiety over whether we can meet together on the inside.

Pastor/Staff conference call. Finally, we will invite pastors and staff to join a conference call within the next couple of days to talk with one another and share ideas about this situation going forward. We will also try to open a forum for ongoing discussion. The details for this will go out to pastors and staff members no later than Tuesday morning.

God bless you as you continue to navigate through new circumstances, and as you represent the presence of Christ in the midst of it.

John Thielepape

Director of Missions

Links to our earlier updates:

March 13, 2020

March 14, 2020