- Do not fear, have courage, do not be anxious, but pray. Cast your cares.
- Not forsake assembly (Is online or conference call together? What about when calamity divides, like Paul’s imprisonment or Daniel’s exile?)
- Love neighbor as yourself
- Do not put Lord to test (Luke 4:12)
- Prepare for calamity (Proverbs 22:3)
- Take care of weaker members (1 Cor. 12:21-27)
- Make gospel attractive (Consider the optics of keeping church open when all schools close) (Titus 2:10) Inviting people to come into an enclosed building communicates the church’s negligence and recklessness with the health and the well being of the local community.
- Protecting the flock, not allowing harm to come. Keeping them and their community from harming themselves, but allowing them to gather online or via phone to receive God’s word, fellowship, etc. (1 Peter 5:2-3)
- Levitical law required intense quarantining for those who were contagious and a risk to others. (Lev. 13)
- Do not place stumbling blocks in front of those who cannot to see. (Lev 19:14, 1 Cor 8:9) Let us not, by asserting our rights, actual or alleged, harm those for whom Christ died 1 Cor 8:10-13
- Let us bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).
- Jesus contended that healing on the Sabbath is lawful. Therefore, preventing the spread of serious sickness to our most vulnerable on the Sabbath is also lawful. (Matt 12) As Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
- Let us seek the welfare of the city where we are in exile (Jeremiah 29:7)
- Let us remember the poor (Galatians 2:10)
- Let us embody the fruit of the Spirit, most especially patience (Galatians 5:22–23)
- Obey those in authority (Hebrews 13:17, Romans 13: 1-5, Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13-15,18, 1 Timothy 6:1-21, Matthew 28:18, Romans 12:17-19, Deuteronomy 17:12, James 2:10 & 1 Samuel 15:23) Government separated exiled Jews, and scattered early Christians, but they found ways to flourish.
You can have church online. Some might stay connected with phone conference calls or texting (for those who won’t or can’t use the internet). You can pray together. Some pastors can even choose to have their congregation meet while most or all stay in their cars. You can help bring people to a decision for Christ. You can connect with people who would not attend your service on Sundays. That and more are listed on this website as options for you and your community.
To pastor a church online is different than simply giving a video stream of typical church services. It’s more intentionally directed for online audiences. It is not just Sunday. It’s getting a plan to provide daily content with the purpose of building community. Don’t use the word “cancel” because it’s actually a transition, a pivot to online church meetings. Because you need this quickly, the goal is to start with something, and then look for ways to improve each week to effectively connect with and discipline people.
Secondly, “This means that all of us have a primary responsibility as leaders, as far as it depends on us, to be well-rested, soaked in prayer and contemplation, and free of personal fear and anxiety. We need to start and end each day as children of our heavenly Father, friends of Jesus, and grateful recipients of the Holy Spirit. We need to pray for genuine spiritual authority, rooted in the love that casts out fear, to guard and govern our lives as we lead, and trust that God will make up what is lacking in our own frail hearts, minds, and bodies.” (source)