COVID-19 Response Resources

Though many of our churches have found ways to get creative with your congregations, we want to share some of the many resources available to help you stay connected with your congregations. If you have articles or helpful resources that would benefit the pastors in our Network, please email them to Mary Beth Inman and we will add them as we can.

With schools being closed for the school year, many churches are asking about options for their preschool teachers. Here is an article we received from Simms Showers about unemployment for churches: Are Church Employees Eligible for Unemployment Benefits?

Regathering With Your Church

24 Questions Your Church Should Answer Before People Return from Ken Braddy
Guidelines for Reopening Your Church Buildings
 from Georgia Baptist Mission Board
Reflections on the New Normal 
from Brian Burdett, pastor of Lake Ridge Baptist Church.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility -
Steps from CDC
7 Shifts Churches Need to Make Because of the Coronavirus 
from Tony Morgan Live
What Your Church Must Know Before Reopening Your Building - Article from Facts & Trends, including a downloadable LifeWay Research COVID-19 Congregational Survey.
Singing, the Church, and COVID-19: A Caution for Moving Forward in Our Current Pandemic - This article shares information about how we should be cautious to start services back with singing together due to higher possibility of transmitting the virus when singing. Here is another brief document with things to consider for choirs.
Presentation from Jim Baucom, Pastor of Columbia Baptist Church
Phase One Requirements for Religious Services from Virginia Governor
The Risks - Know Them - Avoid Them
- Article from Erin Bromage, Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Church Facility Re-Opening Checklist - from Smart Church Solutions
Reopening Churches, Businesses And Nonprofit Organizations as Coronavirus Restrictions Begin to Lift - Article from Rob Showers
COVID-19 Update - More Resources and Articles from Simms Showers
Re-Gathering Resources - from BGAV
FM Transmitters - This equipment is used by one of our churches to do parking lot worship services with a FM broadcast
Sanitization Stations - A couple churches shared these possible solutions for sanitization stations: Global IndustrialEMIST Machine
What if Someone in Church Has the Virus?
addresses what to do if someone in your congregation is diagnosed with COVID-19.
is a new free website from Christianity Today that curates important content from Church Law & Tax and other sister websites with the goal of becoming a trusted destination to learn from other churches' experiences and provide useful resources.

Regathering Plans from NorthStar Churches

First Baptist Church of Woodbridge Resources:
First Baptist Church of Woodbridge Regathering Plan
First Baptist Church of Woodbridge Sanitizing Solutions & Equipment
First Baptist Church of Springfield Regathering Thoughts:
Regathering Thoughts
Expectations Published by First Baptist Church of Springfield

CARES Act Resources

"Details of Senate Bill: The Financial Bridge that Churches, Schools & Nonprofits Need" from Vanderbloemen. This article shares what the Senate bill (S.3578) "Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act" or the "CARES Act" means for churches, schools, non-profits, and small businesses
How CARES Act Impacts Small Businesses, Church, Nonprofits, and Individuals - Article from Rob Showers, Simms Showers, LLP
How New FMLA Changes and EPSLA Will Affect Churches and Nonprofits During the Coronavirus Outbreak Throughout 2020 - Article from Rob Showers, Simms Showers, LLP
Paycheck Protection Program Application Form

Other Financial Resources

Main Street Lending Program (MSLP) Details for For-Profit Companies from John McManus and Marty Weitzel at Capital Bank. Details for Non-Profit Organizations will be shared once they are available. We encourage you to provide public comments to the Federal Reserve about the non-profit guidelines for the MSLP.

Live Streaming Resources

Zoom Video Conferencing - Zoom is a great resource for video conferencing. It is free to use, with limitations. Paid accounts expand access. Zoom is useful for one-on-one and group meetings.
"How to Host An Online Group" - from NorthRidge Leaders. This resource has different options available for hosting small groups online and best practices for these groups.
Church Online Platform - This service from Life.Church offers a free streaming service for churches. is offering the first 90 days free to churches, and a free hardware encoder with a paid plan. One of our churches shared their positive experience using this service, which pushed their pre-recorded video through their church’s app, website, and Facebook Live.
Church Sound Podcast, Special Edition: Simple & Effective Streaming
Church Sound: Setting Up Simple, Effective Streaming of Worship
Restream - This service allows you to stream live to 30+ social platforms at once.
Christian Copyright Solutions
Fairfax Circle Church
has started Live Streaming for the first time these past couple weeks and have shared some of things they have tried and what they've learned so far. Click here to read about their experience.
Tips for Presenting to a Camera -
PowerPoint from Jessica Stone, Fox Business Network journalist and digital anchor with Stansberry Research
Streaming Builds for Churches -
PowerPoint from Taylor Antone, pastor of CityLight Church
Live Stream Services Being Used: BoxCast and Vimeo Premium

Online Giving Resources - is an online giving platform that only charges per transaction processing fees.
Generosity by LifeWay - LifeWay is offering its digital giving platform to all churches and has no setup or monthly subscription fees.
Generis has created a resources portal for responding to COVID-19 with resources, downloads, tips, and more added daily.
"7 Great, Simple Tools to Use When You Can't Pass the Plate" from Georgia Baptist Mission Board

Technology Resources

"Using Technology to Prepare Your Church for Coronavirus (COVID-19)" from Ministry Brands
Text in Church is offering free membership for 60 days. This communication resource allows you to send personalized text messages to all church members at once, with one-on-one responses. They are offering weekly live trainings for you to learn how to use their system.
Zoom Polling Instructions for Meetings

Leadership resources

"How to Lead Through Rapid, Unexpected Change (Responding to COVID-19)" from Carey Nieuwhof
"How to Manage and Motivate Telecommuting Workers" from Leadercast
5 Ways to Get Better at Preaching/Speaking Directly Into a Camera - Article from Carey Nieuwhof, including what we can learn from Jimmy Fallon

Other Resources

"COVID-19 & Your Church: How your church can be responding during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic in the US" from Sunday Mag. This article includes information on how to meet the needs of your church members, live streaming, online giving, social graphics, Facebook resources, and more.
"Nonprofit Resources for Remote Work During the COVID-19 Outbreak" from Techsoup. This resource offers communications solutions for staff working remotely.
Free Training and Checklists to Prepare Your Church for the Coronavirus from Ministry Grid. This training requires a LifeWay account, but is free to sign-up.
Faithlife has resources available for churches, pastors, and more, including free and low-cost options for online giving, streaming, and more.
Faith on Facebook Toolkit - Facebook created this toolkit with churches in mind on how to best use Facebook Pages, Groups, Live, Learning Unites, Watch Parties, and more. 
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Church Planning Template from Humanitarian Disaster Institute
Crisis Toolkit for Churches from ChurchPulse Weekly
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Executive Order Fifty-Three
Easter Ideas During Coronavirus
- Resource from Church Marketing University
Communion Bread Recipe - A recipe for flat bread (naan) to share with congregations wishing to do virtual communion together. (Tips: Click the number of servings to adjust the quantity. No need to brush with butter if using for communion bread.)
COVID-19 Neighboring Toolkit - Resource from Dave Runyon, co-author of The Art of Neighboring. An infectious disease epidemiologist shared this recently regarding the Christian response to COVID-19: “Right now, we don’t need churches to build a bunch of new programs. What we need is for the people who attend those churches to simply be good neighbors, and to do it in a careful and thoughtful manner.” Dave has put together tips and tools in this toolkit that are specific to this moment that we are living in, which he also ran by a couple of public health officials.
Are Churches Behaving Like Malls in the Age of Amazon, Just Hoping For People to Shop Again? - Article from Carey Nieuwhof about focusing on building up your digital presence during this time and not focusing too much on when you can be back in person again.
LifeWay Creates Church Assistance Package - LifeWay has developed a collection of resources to help churches.
Mental Health Webinar - from New Hope Church
Mental Health and Community Resources - from Fairfax County Public Schools

Legal Considerations

Outside Groups using your building - Virginia’s Governor and CDC guidance is to limit group meetings. If outside groups use your facility, consider liability issues for your church when determining whether to allow continued use of your space.
Preschool/Daycare/School - When determining whether or not to refund tuition, refer to the wording of your contract with parents, as well as whether you’ve closed your doors or made attendance optional. Additionally, consider whether you can continue to pay teaching staff without tuition.
Playgrounds - Offering your playground to your neighbors may seem like a great way to engage your community, but consider that you will likely not be able to control group size or cleaning of equipment. Coronavirus germs can remain on surfaces for up to 2-3 days.
Long-term implications for your church - Some things may not go back to the way they were before this started. Virtual church may last for 2-3 months or more. Churches can use this experience to learn how to connect with their congregations in different ways, set up online church and online giving.
Contact your church's legal counsel for advice regarding your particular church's situation. The above-noted information is for consideration only.

Other Considerations

Sign up for leadership emails from Thom Rainer and Carey Nieuwhof.
Consider your wording - We encourage you to use wording like, "Church is online this week" instead of "Church is canceled this week."
Seek legal advice if you’re not sure of your liability in a certain area of your church life.
Utilize technology for pastoral care visits, such as FaceTime and Zoom.

Youth Ministry Resources & Ideas

Download Youth Ministry has several resources, including games, that you can download for your ministry.
Hero Toolbox: Bible Study Methods, a PDF resource from LeaderTreks to help students work through a passage of the Bible. This includes several methods for students to use while reading the Bible themselves.
Digital Experience Guide from Orange Students which is offering free curriculum for youth ministry.
Free Youth Ministry Resources from LeaderTreks. This site has a compilation of resources they have made available.
Scavenger Hunt via Zoom - One of our churches did a scavenger hunt via Zoom by using the chat window to post each round and the "mute all" button when explaining the game and each round. Click here for the format they used.
Daily Devotions - post daily devotions for your students. You can find several on the YouVersion Bible App, including Orange devotions that go with their curriculum.
Social Media Challenges - Create challenges for the students to do good while remaining socially distant and post pictures of themselves tagging your church. This can be writing to a senior adult in your church or using sidewalk chalk to encourage your neighbors.
Discord App - This is an app for connecting with students that are into gaming. You can create a group and then talk or chat while gaming together.
Jackbox - This is a game you can download and play with your students by Zoom/video.
Movie Night - Share your screen through Zoom and watch a movie together and then discuss afterwards. (Make sure you have the correct permissions to do this, like a CVLI Video License.)
Tips for Using Zoom - As the host of a Zoom meeting, you have the ability to change the settings so your students aren't allowed to change their name. You can also mute and turn off video from particpants, as well as kick participants out if they are being distracting. You may want to do a mini-training to show students how to mute and unmute, raise their hands, use the chat, etc.

Children's Ministry Resources & Ideas

Weekly Handout for Sunday - Preschool
Weekly Handout for Sunday - Elementary
Weekly Handout for Sunday - Spanish
Get Out of Your Head Tool Kit - Kids
(from Jennie Allen)
Jennie Allen's Website
- for more Get Out of Your Head resources
Summer Lovin' Scavenger Hunt
- This is the scavenger hunt that Mount Ararat gave out in their children's ministry packets for the kids to earn points and win prizes.
Orange Curriculum - Orange focuses on the church partnering with the family, who is the main spiritual influence in children's lives.
Parent Cue - Resources for parents developed to partner with the Orange curriculum.
WinShape Camps - At-home summer day camps for kids founded by Chick-fil-A

Pastors Video Conference - 3.18.20
Topic: Pastoring and Ministry in Response to COVID-19
Special Guest: Rob Showers to answer legal questions

Pastors Video Conference - 3.25.20
Topic: Live Streaming
Special Guest: Tim Bailey to answer live streaming questions

Preschool Directors Video Conference - 3.30.20
Topic: Response to COVID-19
Special Guest: Rob Showers to answer legal questions, including the CARES Act

Pastors Video Conference - 4.1.20
Topic: Paycheck Protection Program of the CARES Act and recent Executive Orders from the Governor
Special Guest: Rob Showers

Pastors Video Conference - 4.8.20
Topic: Easter Ideas, Creative Ministries, and CARES update

Pastors Video Conference - 4.15.20
Special Guest: Dave Runyon, co-author of The Art of Neighboring

Pastors Video Conference - 4.22.20
Topic: Questions Your Church Should Answer Before People Return

Youth and Children's Minister Video Conference - 4.23.20
Topic: Online instruction and potential child protection risks churches should be aware of in teaching through this format.
Special Guest: Rob Showers

Pastors Video Conference - 4.29.20
Topic: Speaking to a Camera Instead of a Congregation
Special Guests:
Jessica Stone, Fox Business Network journalist and digital anchor with Stansberry Research
Taylor Antone, Pastor of CityLight Church

Pastors Video Conference - 5.6.20
Special Guest: Congressman Rob Wittman, Representative for Virginia's 1st congressional district
Topic: The latest news about the coronavirus situation in Virginia, how soon churches will be able to reopen and what some of the conditions will be, and how our churches can be supporting their communities during this time.

Pastors Video Conference - 5.13.20
Topic: Making Plans to Return to Your Church Facility
Five NorthStar pastors address their emerging plans: Jim Baucom (Columbia Baptist), Todd Gaston (Mount Ararat), Don Davidson (First Baptist, Alexandria), Brian Burdett (Lake Ridge Baptist), and Rusty Coram (New Hope Church).

Pastors Video Conference - 5.20.20
We follow up on our conversation about reopening our churches by surveying those in the meeting about their reopening date and discuss the possibility of coordinating a collective opening date for many of our churches to open at the same time. We also hear from Dr. Gary Hollingsworth, Executive Director of the South Carolina State Convention, as he shares stories and reflections of churches that have opened up in South Carolina and things we can learn from them.

Pastors Video Conference - 5.27.20
Topic: How Your Children's Ministry Can Thrive During COVID-19
Special Guest: Susan Wanderer, Minister to Families at Mount Ararat Church

Pastors Video Conference - 6.10.20
Topics: Specific things that churches need to do to make sure their PPP loan becomes a grant
“Five Things Churches Can Do To Avoid Legal Jeopardy Upon Reopening”
Special Guest: Rob Showers

Pastors Video Conference - 6.17.20
Topic: Main Street Lending Program
Special Guest: John McManus, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Team Leader from Capital Bank

Pastors Video Conference - 6.24.20
Topic: Pastor Checklist for Personal Mental Health During Times of Stress
Special Guest: Chip Cagle, Director of Spiritual Formation, Capital Caring and West Virginia Caring

Pastors Video Conference - 7.8.20
Topic: Lessons Learned in Regathering

Pastors Video Conference - 7.15.20
Topic: Navigating the Stormy Waters of Church Disputes and Stress
Featured Guest: Chuck Boles, certified mediator and business entrepreneur

Pastors Video Conference - 7.22.20
Topic: Adjusting Your Leadership in a Time of Crisis
Special Guest: Scott Wozniak, CEO of Swoz Leadership

Pastors Video Conference - 7.29.20
Topic: Developing Cultures that Inspire!
Special Guest: Joe Riojas, executive coach and strategic planner/advisor

Pastors Video Conference - 8.5.20
Topic: What Churches Can Do To Help Parents This Fall
Special Guests: Lora Gravatt (Columbia Baptist Church), Steph Schleyer (New Hope Church), and Susan Wanderer (Mount Ararat Church)

Pastors Video Conference - 8.12.20
Topic: Clarifying Vision to Increase Engagement
Special Guest: Michele Allen, Communications Director, Mount Ararat Church