As building engineer for a large ministry, I conducted one fire drill every year. With over 200,000 guests per year, we also had occasional false alarms (even with our advanced positive alarm sequence system).
With a secondary priority of returning to normalcy, our first priority was always the safety of our staff and that day’s visitors. Every fire alarm was taken seriously. If it was a false alarm, I considered it a drill, then reset my clock to do another within 12 months. Every drill was great training.
We never waited on the fire department to discover what or where the issue was. By the time they arrived we would show them the source, then let them call everyone back in.
When the alarms sounded the day of our hostage situation in 1996, our folks evacuated with the same ease and order as any other drill. As some exited thinking it was a drill, an officer ran in past them, pumping a round into his shotgun chamber as he entered. They knew then it was no drill. They also knew there was a seasoned team of us dealing with whatever the issue was. That instilled peace over panic.
Think About it
Whether this global pandemic threat is as bad as some say, or an exaggerated distraction as argued by others, it is an opportunity for an infectious disease rehearsal. Engage it and learn, regardless of the eventual severity. At least it will better prepare you for the next one.
Assign a lead at your church to stay informed with reliable sources and communicate to the congregation.
Place hand sanitizer throughout your church.
Encourage people to stay home if they have any symptoms or concerns.
Reschedule large-scale meetings when possible.
Do more webinars and livestreaming.
Communicate sound procedures of your church cleaning procedures, children’s areas, staff hygiene and even your communion process.
Participate in this National Day of Prayer.
Always, in times of pandemic and not, promote & demonstrate the following as you would model buckling seat belts and not smoking for your own kids.
- Do fist & elbow bumps.
- Carry anti-bacterial hand sanitizer and use it often.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
- Never again cough into your right hand.
- Maintain speaking space.
- Stop touching the holes in your head (your eyes, ears, nose and mouth are virus portals).
Attitude is contagious; spread assurance, not fear. Same as always.