Throughout COVID-19, the Humanitarian Disaster Institute has been working to develop and disseminate quality, research-based resources to help both church leaders and churchgoers re-enter in-person gatherings well. Between safety precautions, personal health, liturgical adaptations, racial and ethnic tensions, and other ministry considerations, there are many things to weigh when contemplating and planning for reopening church facilities.

Here is a summary of the resources you can find on

Guide to Reopening Church Services

This resource is a step-by-step, biblically-based and research-based approach to resuming in-person ministries. This 26-page manual includes chapters on making a Bible-based and science-based plan, creating a step-by-step approach, implementing safety actions, and when to move on to next steps. Infused with Scripture and organized by charts and action steps, this guide is a one-stop shop for how to plan for reopening your facilities.

Church Reopening Checklist

Checklists are great for tracking and completing tasks in an organized and timely manner. This resource helps pastors and church leaders not rush through the reopening process and carefully address various issues related to starting in-person services again. This checklist is organized into four parts to help best guide leaders through these complex decisions in phases: before making the decision to reopen, preparing your staff and volunteers for reopening, preparing members and possible attendees for reopening, and on actual day of reopening.

Checklist for Church Members Returning to In-Person Services

This checklist is built to help congregants thoughtfully prepare before re-entering their church building. This resource is broken up into four locations that require preparation: at home, in the church parking lot, in church entryways and hallways, and in the worship area. Work through this checklist to be a prepared churchgoer, equipped for your church’s reopening.

Deciding When & How You Should Return to Church in Person

This 22-page practical guide for church members and churchgoers answers the key “how to’s” of returning to in-person church services. This resource is designed to help each individual person decide whether it is both safe and wise for them to return to church. The chapters within help church members explore how to make their decision, approach reopening prayerfully, move forward Biblically, understand their risks using science, know if their church is reopening well, return with practical wisdom, love their neighbor while churches reopen, and care for themselves faithfully. Steeped in Scripture, this resource is both informative and reflective, helping everyone make the best decision about returning to in-person services.

Should I Be Attending Worship Services at My Church?

This resource is a decision tree, helpful in organizing your thoughts about reopening and coming to a final answer about returning to in-person church services. It is organized into four basic questions: 1) What is my health and exposure status? 2) How well has my church prepared for a safe reopening? 3) What safety measures can I expect to be in place when I go to church for worship? 4) What health and safety measures must exist for me to feel safe going to church? Each of these key questions are followed by subsequent questions to gauge the specific plans you need to return to church.

The Black Church in Action Against Racism During COVID-19

This 16-page guide is a resource designed to engage questions surrounding social action and ministry during COVID-19. This guide serves as a practical and biblical guide to prophetic ministry while protecting health, organized into five key chapters: a call to action against racism and COVID-19, responding to systemic vulnerabilities, becoming collective agents of change, developing productive partnerships, and not getting weary in well-doing. This booklet is designed to help guide churches through the challenge of navigating the complexities of the pandemic under the shroud of racism and disinvestment that continues to impact the black community.

Reopening Our Church for In-Person Services

This resource is another decision tree, helpful in making decisions with many moving parts by directing your ideas towards a thoughtfully constructed plan. This resource is organized around four main questions: 1) Is our church family and local community ready for us to reopen? 2) Are our staff and volunteers adequately trained for reopening? 3) Is our facility ready to meet all health and safety requirements? 4) Are we able to monitor and adapt to changing needs or requirements? Use this document in your meetings and planning sessions to make the best plan for reopening your church.

We hope these resources are helpful to you no matter where your church is in the reopening process!

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