We’ve all had to get used to writing risk assessments over the last few months. To walk through the building and the church service and other activities with new eyes, trying to spot potential pinch points and transmission risks and taking steps to minimise them. It is right and good that we have done so. But I think there’s also a problem inherent in doing so.
We only tend to carry out a risk assessment for physical risks. The problem with this is that it means we’re hyper aware of them. The are made more real by the action os assessing them and we take appropriate steps to counter them. But what about the Spiritual risks? What about the spiritual dangers?
As Christ’s disciples we ought to be used to thinking on these two different levels at once. We know there are physical and spiritual realities, that the two are real. It is right that we follow Government guidelines as regards physical risk especially at the time of a global pandemic. But the government won’t think on these two levels, whereas we ought to instinctively and the spiritual risks ought to influence the physical actions we take as a result. And yet have we taken time to carry out a spiritual risk assessment?
How about as church leaders? If we were to carry out a spiritual risk assessment for our church flock what would we conclude the biggest threats are and what steps would we take to prevent long lasting harm? Isolation? Loneliness? A growing association of church with online not physical? Teenagers who disconnect? Children who don’t engage? Loss of discipleship? Decaying relationships? Consumerist attitude to church?
What are we currently risking spiritually because of our physical actions to limit risk and at what point do we weigh one against the other? What steps are we taking to limit the risk to discipleship, evangelism, pastoral care and church health? How do we build unity in a time of separation?
What about as families? What are the dangers of not returning to church? What are the dangers inherent in consuming church online? What are the dangers inherent in being in church but socially distanced and what steps ought we to take to mitigate this?
What about as individuals? What are the spiritual risks that come with our response to the physical risks? And what steps do we need to take to minimise these or overcome them all together?