COVID-19 Resources

Church of God Ministries

Church of God Ministries is committed to providing practical resources to help our Movement along #theway, both during this time and into a stronger future together..

Indiana Ministries

Indiana Ministries has compiled a great list of COVID-19 Response Resources for Churches.

Church of God Ohio Ministries

Church of God Ohio Ministries has also compiled a great list of COVID-19 Response Resources for Churches.

Servant Solutions

An update from your trusted partners at Servant Solutions in response to the Coronavirus.


Information for Pastors on COVID-19

From our March eAction:

Mark Richardson

Rev. Mark Richardson

How Will We Respond to This Goliath?

Like many people, perhaps you as well, one of my all-time favorite Bible stories is of David as a very young man confronting the giant, Goliath. 1 Samuel 17 tells the story of Goliath confronting, confounding, and causing the entire army of Israel to cower in fear. His shear size, somewhere between 6 feet 9 inches and 9 feet (depending upon which translation you reference) and weighing somewhere between 270 and 340 pounds, was overwhelming to Israel’s leaders and army. For 40 days he stood in the valley between both armies taunting and challenging Israel to send out a warrior and the winner would win the battle proclaiming victory for that army. Israel was too afraid to do anything but freeze in fear.

In the midst of this onslaught, David arrives with a care package for his brothers from his father, Jesse. When he saw this display, and the fear of Israel’s army, in his dismay he uttered one of the great lines of the Old Testament, from verse 26. “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” David shared with King Saul that he would fight the giant. You know how the story goes. He overcame the giant with a smooth stone and a slingshot. But it is his bravery in face of a “giant” of a situation that stands out to me. Goliath was real, and he was a real threat to Israel, even more so given their paralyzing fear of him. Well, we are faced with yet another Goliath in our time, and it is called COVID-19 or the Coronavirus.

On Tuesday, March 10, at about 10:45pm, Governor Gretchen Witmer declared a State of Emergency for Michigan as two cases of the Coronavirus were tentatively confirmed in Michigan. Several other states had already done so, and some have gone much further, like New York that has declared an entire community to be quarantined. A cascade of issues and challenges come with that like how will people get food, how will they have income if they can’t work, and how will schools deal with missed days, etc. As I write this, Michigan State University has cancelled in person classes for several days, like many other universities across the country. The World Health Organization has declared the Coronavirus a pandemic. Cities are canceling St. Patrick Day Parades; sports teams are evaluating playing games without fans attending. The Coronavirus is real, and it certainly represents a considerable threat if it continues to manifest itself around the world.

The question for us, the Church of God in Michigan and our congregations, indeed for the Church, is “How will we respond to this Goliath?” My hopeful prayer is that the Lord will bless us with a solution to the virus that everyone can tap into as needed. As we wait for that there are some things that we can do. First of all, we can pray fervently for the Lord’s help. Secondly, we can determine to not allow fear to paralyze us into hunkering down in our homes and stop functioning. Thirdly, we can follow the advice given to help minimize the chances of exposure to the Coronavirus.

As we think about practical advice for dealing with this giant, Rev. Rebecca New-Edson, the Director of Ministries for Western and Central Pennsylvania, published a well thought out and reasonable strategy for functioning during this time of uncertainty, entitled, Coronavirus Contingency Plan. With her permission, I am sharing that with you for your consideration. I know that some of our congregations have already published a strategy, and I encourage you to follow it. If not, please consider adopting this strategy for practical steps to minimize the chances of exposure.

Coronavirus Contingency Plan

My Brothers and Sisters,

During any crisis, we have a firm foundation.  Our faith is in God and God’s provision. We are not to live in fear but through prayer we can find God’s peace.  We can help reduce people’s anxiety through prayerful, informed counsel, and by having a plan of action that will be in their best interest.  It is not our goal to create fear and hype, but we also want to be wise and prepared.  Church of God Ministries, Inc. is carefully monitoring the Coronavirus situation, considering gathering events and preparing for any potential crisis.  Clearly, the risk is more prevalent for some areas of the country, but we would be naïve to think there is no danger of risk for Pennsylvania.

We are offering the following contingency plans for different levels of the disease in our local areas.  Obviously, this advice needs to be customized to your church’s needs.  All medical advice should be followed only as it continues to be advocated by the CDC and other medical professionals.

I hope this information is helpful to you as you continue to serve your congregation and your community.

Level 1- no known infections in our area (our current situation)

  • Events as scheduled
  • Prevent Spread:
    • If you have any flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sneezing, etc.) stay home
    • Refrain from handshaking and hugging at gatherings
    • Hand sanitizer at entry/exit doors and at all gatherings (youth, small groups, etc)
    • Disinfecting wipes in children’s areas (nursery and classrooms)
  • Serve:
    • Members gather contact info for senior friends and seniors in their neighborhood
    • Assemble team of volunteers to make deliveries to seniors
    • Assemble team of volunteers for pastoral care (calls and cards)
  • Prepare:
    • Guide our church and community families for basic preparation

Level 2- people in our area become infected but incidents are isolated

  • Morning worship as scheduled
  • Prevent Spread:
    • Suspend serving the Lord’s Supper unless highly sanitary methods are adopted – such as servers using medical gloves and individually handing the elements to persons, thus not allowing persons to touch the tray or other elements
    • Cancel all Senior Adult events (it has been established that seniors are most affected by virus)
    • Eliminate all handshaking and hugging at gatherings
    • Hand sanitizer at entry/exit doors and at all gatherings (youth, small groups, etc)
    • Disinfecting wipes in children’s areas (nursery and classrooms)
    • Minimize in person hospital/nursing home/home visitations
  • Serve:
    • Implement Seniors Care
      • members contact their senior adult friends/neighbors for wellness check
      • church coordinate getting groceries and Rx for seniors as needed (help seniors learn to use Weis2Go, Walmart Grocery Pickup, Giant Eagle Curbside Pickup and Delivery, Amazon Market)
      • Deliver community food bank senior food boxes as needed
    • Implement team to call and send cards to quarantined/hospitalized persons
  • Prepare:
    • Prepare for online worship services
      • Worship team video record multiple songs
      • Develop plan for pastor to record weekly video messages
      • Purchase editing software to produce services (only if level 3 seems inevitable)
      • Develop plan to put video on Facebook and church website
    • Encourage basic family preparations listed in Level 1
    • Encourage people to set-up online giving

Level 3- active community spread in our area

  • Prevent Spread:
    • Cancel all gatherings (worship services, small groups, meetings, etc.)
    • Implement remote meetings (phone, email or online/video)
    • Suspend in person hospital/nursing home/home visitations
  • Serve:
    • Produce at least weekly online service via Facebook and website
    • Encourage online giving to keep ministries going
    • Continue implementing Seniors Care
    • Continue to use team to call and send cards to quarantined/hospitalized persons
  • Prepare:
    • Establish online worship services and telephone call prayer meetings (you can go online to register for a free conference call at 



Taking care of those in our household of faith (ref) does not mean that we are not also called to care for those in our communities.  This may present a great opportunity for us to be the best church FOR our communities.  We will adopt an outward focused posture to serve the community.  Part of that service is taking precautions on behalf of others who may be a higher risk.  This is part of Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Prevent Spread (based on the current direction of the CDC and US Surgeon General):

  • Hand washing; Thoroughly washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water is one of the best way to prevent coronavirus spread.  Wash hands after social interactions, after being in a public space (worship service, store, restaurant, etc.), after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Carrier vs symptoms: You may be a contagious carrier of the coronavirus for 14 days prior to having any flu-like symptoms.  It is imperative that anyone having symptoms immediately self-quarantine and alert others with whom you’d had contact in the last 2 weeks that you have symptoms of the coronavirus.
  • Hand Sanitizer:  When hand washing is not possible, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used.  It may be difficult to find it in your local stores or online.  Many online recipes are available, but caution should be used to ensure that the final mixture is not contaminated and contains at least 60% alcohol.  Additionally, many of the ingredients needed to make your own sanitizer have become hard to get.
  • Masks:  the CDC and Surgeon General have repeatedly stated that wearing masks will not prevent you from getting the coronavirus.  But the mask can help infected people from spreading it to other people in their home by preventing droplets from being spread from the infected person’s mouth/nose.
  • Quarantine:  Whether the quarantine is because you have symptoms or because you have been exposed to someone with symptoms, be prepared for at least a 14 day quarantine:
    • 90 day Rx- as most prescriptions are imported, it may become difficult to get certain medications.  By having a 90 day supply (available by getting a 90 day Rx from your Dr) you can minimize the possibility of running out of medications.
    • 14 days food for you and your pets
    • Cleaning products and toiletries (including toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, and cleaners or diluted bleach water).  A CDC approved list of cleaners  can be found here:
    • Soap for handwashing
    • Masks for use if person in home becomes infected
    • Laundry detergent
    • Thermometer to check for fever (one of the primary signs of coronavirus)
    • Over the counter flu medications to treat symptoms

  Producing Online Service- Most of us have never taken a video editing/production class. But there is probably someone in your church who would be able to take the raw footage of songs recorded by your worship team (during level 2) and messages recorded by you and put together a meaningful time of worship that you can put on your church Facebook page or website.  The following link suggests some low-cost equipment that might make your recordings done with your smart phone a higher production quality: Online giving- If not already set up, there are many options available for online giving.  If you use a Church Management System (Planning Center Online, Elexio, Servant Keeper, etc), you probably have online and/or text to give options available through that system that might be the best way to get started with electronic giving. Here are a list of other possible options:

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We sincerely thank Rev. Rebecca New-Edson for sharing this helpful information with us. We are praying with you that the Lord will bless, protect, and keep us all, and that He will bring this situation to a successful resolution.

With love and joy,
Rev. Mark K. Richardson, State Pastor

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