Non-denominational assembly, The Elevation Church (TEC), has admonished church leaders in Nigeria across to approach the resumption of physical gatherings with critical thought, strategic planning and a sense of responsibility for the safety and convenience of their members.
TEC said with the recent ease on the restriction of physical religious gatherings by the Federal Government, it is imperative that religious leaders assume the full responsibility of ensuring the safety of their members.
A statement by TEC stressed the need for full alignment of efforts from both religious leaders and State Governments on the safety precautions needed to curb the spread of coronavirus in gatherings before commencement.
It read: “As the onus to ensure safety and full compliance to preventive measure lies on the leadership of religious institutions including churches, we implore the leaders to understand the need to restrict large congregations and consider the following prior to opening for gatherings of any kind.
“First, the aim should be to provide and participate in ‘contactless services’ where incidences of physical contact with people and objects are reduced to the minimum if not completely eradicated. The Church must be careful not to confuse faith with foolishness, embrace certain hygiene protocols and encourage members of our congregations to do the same.
“Secondly, it is imperative to install sufficient safety equipment and processes that will facilitate these contactless services such as handwashing or sanitisation stations, temperature checking mechanisms and the restructuring or rearrangement of pews to adhere to social distancing protocols.”
TEC also stated that communication with congregants is crucial and urged church leaders need to speak with and hear from members as faith gatherings are a collective responsibility.
“Leaders must manage expectations, communicate changes clearly and engage in proper change management practices to ensure their church members are able to adapt to the new methods of worship and still be able to connect and participate fully and faithfully in the worship of our God.
“It is against this backdrop that The Elevation Church has put together a survey for Christians to fill to indicate their readiness to go back to physical church gatherings and it can be accessed through – https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSewk5JJ6GcifCID_7fhE0Zoekuhl0A2FxciJbEpYYAf03c1sw/viewform
“In view of the potential restrictions of the number of people who may be permitted by the government to congregate physically in churches, churches are encouraged to continue to invest in and drive online and digital service experiences.
“While the fight against Covid-19 remains in force, one of the surest ways to stop the spread remains restricting movement unless absolutely necessary. Therefore, providing a viable means of alternate worship should remain a priority for every church.”
Lead Pastor of TEC, Godman Akinlabi, said: “We encourage all Christian leaders to diligently consider all options, prayerfully define processes and dimension the potential costs and consequences of reopening before engaging. Remember, that the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands.
“In the last few months, we have all proven that the Church is beyond a building; we who believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the Church, and as long as we do not lose sight of this, we will keep forcefully advancing. The Church is indeed in her finest hour.”.
Church leaders who desire assistance navigating their congregations through this unfamiliar terrain should send an email to [email protected], to join a vibrant network of pastors and church leaders with the skillsets and tools imperative for managing this change.