The federal government continues to tighten its guidelines about how to best combat the spreading coronavirus, and some local authorities are even adding to those. As well, churches are having to deal with revised restrictions.
Last weekend, First Baptist-Dallas split its 5,000 weekly attenders into several on campus venues – none holding more than 500 people, as Dallas authorities had mandated. But this coming weekend will be under the new Trump administration guidelines of no more than ten people in any one gathering.
Lacking 500 venues, senior pastor Robert Jeffress says his church is changing things up again. "Given the changing situation, the new guidelines by the president and the CDC, we will be exclusively online this Sunday," he reports.
In California, some churches had already taken that step. But a "shelter in place" order has been issued in several Bay Area counties. Twin Lakes Church in Aptos, about 80 miles south of San Francisco, is scrambling to try to avoid completely shutting the church down for the next six weeks. Jeffress says his church has a plan for that should it come to Dallas.
"We want to be sure that we have the technology available – from one of our media staff's home – to be able to broadcast a previously seen service in case this 'shelter down' order comes," he shares.
OneNewsNow reported earlier this week about a Barna Group study on the influence of the "digital age" on the habits of churchgoers.
The Southern Baptist pastor says Christians should look for peace from their faith in Christ – not just emotionally but also financially as the economy teeters on the brink.
"I think there are two words that guide how we ought to think about this," Jeffress offers. "The first word is prayer … the second word is precaution. Every time I get on the busy Dallas North tollway, I say a prayer for my safety – but I also buckle my seatbelt."
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is president-elect of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee. He has suggested several specific areas for prayer, including asking God for his mercy to stop the pandemic and save lives locally and around the world; and his wisdom for President Donald Trump and other international leaders as they work to stem the spread of coronavirus.