WVCSB COVID-19 Response Updates
WVCSB COVID-19 Response Update, March 24, 2020
WVCSB pastors and church leaders,
I am so grateful for your leadership and faithfulness in these difficult and uncertain times. Never before have we been faced with this type of global pandemic. Nevertheless, God has called you, equipped you, and provided all you need to lead during this time. Please know that I and your WVCSB staff are praying for you and are here to serve however we can.
Here are some things you have likely already been thinking through and acting upon, but are good reminders for all of us:
1. Give special attention to your own physical, emotional, and spiritual health. If you are not a healthy leader, you cannot adequately serve your family or your church. Yes, have faith that the Lord will take care of you, but exercise godly wisdom. Limit your own exposure to public places. Practice good health and hygiene. Get plenty of rest. Spend extra time in the Word and in prayer.
2. Listen to people and love people more than you preach to them – both in the church and in the community. During these times of heightened fear and uncertainty, people need your loving ear and encouragement. Just keep loving people and pointing them to Jesus.
3. Do exercise definitive and loving leadership. Already, you have been faced with difficult decisions – and there will be more. Love people through these difficult changes, but lead with certainty. Everybody will have an opinion about how you should do things. These opinions can sometimes cause us to second guess our decisions. Listen to godly counsel, but don’t flounder on your decisions.
4. One of the biggest impacts this crisis could have on your church is financial. Cleve Persinger, on your WVCSB staff, has done a great job compiling tithing and stewardship resources. We have mailed this packet to your church, but you can also download the digital version at wvcsb.org/covid19stewardship. This will help you think though and implement some very practical solutions to assist church members with tithing and giving. The sooner you make necessary adjustments, the better.
I am grateful to be serving as your new West Virginia Baptists leader. We are in this together. May the Lord be gracious and give us his wisdom.
Your Brother and Friend,
Eric W. Ramsey
WVCSB Executive Director-Treasurer
WVCSB COVID-19 Response Update, March 21, 2020
Please take a moment to watch this update from WVCSB Executive Director, Eric Ramsey. We are encouraged by how our churches are responding to COVID-19 while finding creative ways to stay on mission and continue in generosity. Remember, the state office is here to serve your church and association during these unique times.
WVCSB Statement on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), March 13, 2020
As concerns have increased this week surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and our churches are inquiring how to best navigate these days of uncertainty, we want to take a moment to encourage you to use wisdom in preventing the spread of the virus while also being faithful in this moment to be the hands and feet of Christ — pointing people to ultimate hope in him.
Make sure you stay informed on the virus through the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources as you determine what’s best for your church and community.
What churches are doing
As of this update, West Virginia has no confirmed COVID19 cases. However, many churches across the country, where positive test results exist in their region, have temporarily cancelled services.
According to the CDC, simple and practical hygiene that prevents the transmission of regular bugs is just as effective at preventing the spread of Coronavirus (which causes COVID-19).
Other temporary preventative measures:
* Sanitize frequently touched surfaces before and after every service such as doors, handles, tables, water fountains, check-in stations, toys, sinks, and baptistries.
* Keep your hands away from your face, nose, and eyes as much as possible.
* Provide hand sanitizer stations. Keep them refilled.
* Ensure that tissues are readily available along with closed trash bins for disposal of used tissues.
* Relocate offering buckets to the back of the sanctuary so congregants won’t need to pass them down the row.
* Change the way you greet guests. Think hand waves or air fives instead of handshakes when you say hello. Consider pausing greeting time during the service.
* Eliminate complimentary coffee stations and other treats.
* Suspend serving communion or find ways to distribute the elements with minimal contact such as Fellowship Cups.
Day of Prayer for the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Global Pandemic, Sunday, March 15, 2020
Leaders of our SBC entities and President J.D. Greear are calling upon our churches and all Southern Baptist Christians to join in a dedicated time of prayer on Sunday, March 15, 2020.
1. Ask God, in his mercy, to stop this pandemic and save lives — in our communities and the world, particularly in places that are unequipped medically to deal with the virus. (Isaiah 59:1-2)
2. Pray for President Donald Trump and other government leaders — international, federal, state, and local — to have the wisdom to direct us in the best courses of action for prevention and care. (Romans 13:1–4)
3. Scripture says: Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. Pray that the Lord will give us wisdom in this moment of fear as the foundations of what we know are shaken, that others would realize how fragile life is and how real eternity is, and they would see their need to turn to God. (Psalm 90:12)
4. Ask God to protect our missionaries and their families around the globe, using this global crisis to advance his Good News to the whole world. (Mark 16:15)
Love your community
We should be known as a gospel people. You and your church are uniquely positioned to impact your community. Look for ways to be salt and light in the coming weeks while praying for your community, our state, and the world.
Leverage this moment for the church to bring assurance and hope to a world filled with fear. For example, encourage your church family to be good neighbors. If they live beside or are in close contact with families who have high-risk individuals in their homes, reach out to see if they need anything. Maybe that means offering to pick up supplies on their next trip to the store, or dropping off some food if they’re unable to get out.
Proclaim the gospel and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
* How to Livestream Your Church Service: A Practical Guide
* 5 of the Best Church Online Giving Platforms
* Greear, Floyd, entity heads issue call for day of prayer
* Love in the Time of Coronavirus: A guide for Christian leaders
* Coronavirus Explained by an Infectious Disease Expert and Pastor
Finally, your communication around the Coronavirus should be both pastoral and tactical. In a time of fear and crisis, people will need to be reminded that God is their refuge, strength, and an ever-present help in times of trouble. But, people will want to know there is a plan and to be reassured that you are taking their health needs seriously.
Our convention exists to serve our churches. We are praying as a staff for you. If we can be of any assistance as you proactively plan for how this will impact your church and community, please do not hesitate to contact us at the state office.
We serve a sovereign God who has “not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment” (1 Timothy 1:7). He has empowered us with these three gifts no matter what comes our way. God is at work.