With the increasing news of Coronavirus spreading around the world I am glad to hear that many churches have decided not to hold church services where people attend in person over the next few weeks. Instead they have decided to stream their services.
I actually think this outbreak will change a lot of things about how we do church as Christians going forward. These are some of my early reflections.
1. Sick people should stay home
I think people will be less likely to go to church when they are sick with cold and flu symptoms. And I think people will be less likely to accept people going to church if they are sick. A polite you should be home in bed is the most loving thing to do. Over the years I have seen many people who are sick and contagious attending church. Often they are up on stage, preparing communion for others to take, or shaking hands with everyone and not mentioning they are sick until afterwards. To me this is not acceptable. My belief has always been if I am sick, I am not going, this cold/flu/bug stops with me. I am staying home. This is for both secular work, church and when I was a Pastor.
2. Online church will be more acceptable
I think it will be more acceptable for people to attend and be involved with churches online. People will accept that for some people it is better to go to church via livestream. People seem to understand it is ok for people who are physically not able to attend church to do things online or on TV. I think we will see that it is ok for people who suffer from mental illness, people who are afraid of crowds, people who don’t like tradition face the front church or people who are sick to not attend. Rather than the standard statement of “you should not forsake meeting together”, people will accept that not everyone can make it to church each week, or being connected to a church in another location is ok.
3. Churches will do livestream services more readily
I think this Coronavirus outbreak will mean that churches are more open to closing down church services more quickly. Yes it will be prayerfully considered, but I think churches will listen to health authorities advice and have plans in place. I believe more and more churches will livestream their services so they have something in place for if and when it happens.
4. Smaller house churches will make sense to more people
My last thing that I think will happen is smaller house churches will be more attractive to more people. To some house churches are more inline with the way it was done in the Bible. To others they can’t imagine not doing traditional face the front church. But this outbreak might make more people think that smaller house churches might be the way forward. It works really well in countries with persecution or where people can’t afford big buildings. In many places it is the fastest growing form of church. If you think about it, if someone who attends a house church of 10-12 is sick, it is limited to 10-12 people maximum. But if someone attends a church of 200, then there is more potential for it to spread wider.
From my personal opinion I think it is a good thing that churches are not holding services in the coming weeks. Yes we trust God and live by faith, but we also need to use wisdom and listen to the health experts. We need to slow the spread of the virus down as much as possible. As someone who has lived with a serious illness for a large chunk of my life, your health and the health of those around you is just too important.
Stay well and be blessed,