Simple Tips to Prepare for a Pandemic
Guidance for churches as the H1N1 virus spreads.

As a ministry leader, you may be wondering what you can do to keep your congregation healthy. Here are some important steps you can take to reduce the spread of the flu within your own faith community.

Read through the tips below, then take our free online assessment to see if your church is ready to communicate to staff and congregants during a pandemic.

From there, check out our electronic training resource, "Preparing Your Church for a Pandemic," on

Stop the Spread

Physical contact. To decrease the risk of the virus spreading through handshakes and other routine touch, your pastors and lay leaders may want to make known that they are suspending physical contact and ask that the congregants respect those in the congregation who wish to do the same.

Make it easy. Encourage your people to wash their hands frequently. Help them out by placing hand sanitizers throughout your building, and encourage your congregation to use them throughout the worship time.

Clean more regularly. During a heightened time of risk for illness, nursery workers should try their hardest to keep toys from passing from child to child. The nursery should also be completely disinfected after each service or event.

The kitchen or coffee area is another place of concern since it's where many people will congregate at a time. If you have food out on Sunday mornings remind people to "take what they touch" and to throw away all garbage as soon as they're finished.

Prepare Your Staff

Create job handbooks. If you don't already have them, create job handbooks for each of the pastoral and administrative positions in your church. This will continue to give your staff and church direction if a staff member is out of commission for a long period of time.

Ask them to leave. Establish mandatory staff leave for ill employees (or those caring for ill family members). This will reduce the possibility of spreading the infection among healthy co-workers.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

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