As America begins to settle into the new norm of uncertainty amid the coronavirus outbreak, church life as we know it is changing.
Many churches across the American landscape are temporarily closing their doors. Dunwoody Baptist Church is located on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, and like most churches, they’re having to deal with what Sunday will look like.
Christian Headlines sat down with church leaders Allen Taliaferro and Robert Comeaux, to discuss the new changes that their church members will see on Sunday. As soon as the interview begins, one glance at Taliaferro’s face reveals that for this executive pastor this has not been a normal week. He currently has 48 voicemails and text messages that need returning. When asked when he started preparing response protocols, he's quick to point out the teamwork of the staff and church members.
"One of our members on our leadership team called me last week to ask what our plan would be. At the time I didn't think much of it, but by the end of the week we had a plan ready to go,” Taliaferro said.
Comeaux, who is the church’s worship pastor, jumped right in, explaining, “We are in a new season of church life in America as we know it.”
Dunwoody has a plan in place for Sunday and practical directives for its members. Taliaferro shared that everything from who holds the door to the Lord's supper will look different. "Our plan for Sunday will be, for example, only a few people will hold the door open with lots of hand sanitizer."
The church will also refrain from passing the offering plate and the Lord's supper will be individually wrapped, compared to the typically shared community of partaking of the Lord’s Supper.
Despite implementing these practical steps, Comeaux knows that many church members will be coming to church with fear and anxiety over what is to come.
"I think every church leader needs to go with what God has placed in their heart for this Sunday," Comeaux asserted.
The two church leaders are aware that one size doesn't fit all, and every church needs to decide what is best for them. But, like any leader who has concerns that people who are sick may not stay home, Taliaferro has made it clear that if he senses that someone may be sick, in his compacity as a church leader, he has no issue with confronting that person.
While Comeaux and Taliaferro are trying to simply think through this Sunday, it is clear that they’re also thinking about what the future will look like if the virus persists.
Comeaux shared, "We've taken a look at our online process, and the pastor has asked me to start thinking through what an online service will look like.
“We have upgraded our speed capability online,” Comeaux added.
Both men would agree that we are living in uncharted times; they also agree that God is in control, and he is the one who knows what's best for his Church.
Photo courtesy: Sparrow Stock
Video courtesy: D Ca