COVID-19 Information and Resources

Missionary Staff Continues Remote Ministry: Baptist Convention of New Mexico state missionary staff are currently working remotely, and are available to serve and encourage churches during its COVID-19 office closure (March 23 – at least June 1). BCNM staff are checking email and office voicemail messages regularly. To stay in contact, they will be contacting pastors and other church leaders personally. The information below also provides many answers and ideas. This page is being updated often.

The Baptist Convention of New Mexico has a designated “Hope Fund” for churches who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, click here.

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Status List of BCNM Events (Click to Expand)

The Baptist Convention of New Mexico is monitoring the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), and will cancel events as needed, in order to protect New Mexico Baptists from exposure to the virus. Below is a list of upcoming events and their current status. This list will be updated periodically.

Altered Events:

  • July 30-August 1: Ministers and Family Retreat – Postponed until August 5-7, 2021

Canceled Events:

  • March 21: Young Lives Ablaze, Albuquerque
  • March 21: Hispanic Sunday School Revitalization Training, BCNM
  • March 26-28: Disaster Relief Annual Training and Celebration, Albuquerque
  • April 2: Vacation Bible School Training, Artesia
  • April 3: Vacation Bible School Training, Clovis
  • April 3-4: Native American Awakening, Albuquerque
  • April 3-5: Collegiate Leadership Training Conference (LTC)
  • April 4: Vacation Bible School Training, Hobbs
  • April 6: Vacation Bible School Training, Farmington
  • April 7: Vacation Bible School Training, Albuquerque
  • April 18: Hispanic Sunday School Revitalization Training, Portales La Puerta
  • April 25: Ethnic Leadership Summit, Del Norte, Albuquerque
  • April 30: Vacation Bible School Training, Las Cruces
  • May 1: Vacation Bible School Training, Ruidoso
  • May 27-29: Collegiate NM Team Orientation
  • May 30 – July 17: Collegiate NM Team Start/Finish Dates
  • June 1-5: BCNM StuCamps 1.0, Sivells
  • June 2-5: Hispanic Family Camp, Inlow
  • June 8-12: Young Lives Ablaze Children’s Camp, Inlow
  • June 8-12: BCNM StuCamps 2.0, Sivells
  • June 15-19: Indian Family Camp, Inlow
  • June 15-19: Connection Children’s Camp, Sivells
  • June 22-26: BCNM StuCamps 3.0, Inlow
  • June 25-27: Father & Son Camp, Sivells
Statement 3/17/2020: BCNM Office Hours, Summer Camp Cancellations (Click to Expand)

Dear New Mexico Baptists,

As events are changing rapidly with the COVID-19 virus, the BCNM wants to assure every church that we are here to assist. Safety should be a primary concern for everyone and we are making adjustments even at the Baptist Building to ensure social distancing. The building will be closed on Fridays, but will be open Monday-Thursday. I want to encourage you to continue to monitor the website and, with the president and CDC’s recommendation, do everything possible to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. We will maintain our new schedule through April 3 and then update it as needed.

With these changes, there are several things that I need to apprise you of. This morning, I met with the State Mission Board in a conference call and this afternoon, I met with SBC leadership in a conference call. I am excited to say that other state conventions are working diligently, just as yours is, to ensure support for our churches.

These will be difficult financial times. The BCNM is certainly not flush, but we want to be good partners in helping pastors who experience an emergency in these days. If you are a pastor dealing with a financial emergency or crisis, please contact me. My email address is [email protected] and I’m checking it frequently. I will get back with you as quickly as possible.

Many pastors are asking about the holding of public worship services. Once again, it is not my role as executive director to dictate what local churches do. I can today share with you however, that where I am a member, we are not holding public services Sunday. We are moving to a FaceBook Live venue. All other activities until further notice at my local church are cancelled. It is imperative, when making difficult decisions, that we have the highest care and esteem for those who are elderly and those dealing with chronic conditions. It is my conviction that a wise pastor will guard his flock.

I am not sure, nor is anyone else, when this Coronavirus will begin to flatten out, but I am sure of this, in my lifetime, there has never been a better opportunity for the church to behave like the New Testament church. Candidly, it is easy for us to make the mistake to think that church is a building or a place to go to. We are the church and these would be incredible days to check on those who may not be active in the fellowship or may be vulnerable. These times also afford us incredible opportunities to share the gospel. Part of the fear gripping America, and the world, is most people have some sense of recognition that their death would lead to a divine encounter of which they are not ready.

In closing, there is one more piece of information that I need to share. As a result of this Coronavirus and the impossibility to prepare camps effectively, the securing of cook teams, summer staff, etc., the BCNM will not be holding summer camps. One aspect of this decision is that we recognize that even attempting camp would put an increased financial and burden on individual families and local churches. In these days, some families are going to have to tighten their belts as never before.

Keep up with our website. New information will be coming regularly. If you need to know how to livestream, we are here to help you. Please be faithful in your tithes and offerings.

With all my love, Dr. Joseph L. Bunce

Statement 3/12/2020: Initial Statement on COVID-19 (Click to Expand)

A wise man once said, “A crisis is a great opportunity to learn more about one’s self.” Our world and nation seem to be trembling with hysteria regarding the COVID-19 virus. As believers, hysteria is not the solution. The real solution lies in faith and prudence. I have had calls from pastors in regard to Sunday services and other activities. Every congregation should practice some simple, practical, prudent efforts. Below are a few suggestions.

– If you are ill, STAY HOME! If you have a fever, sore throat, congestion, coughing, shortness of breath or gastrointestinal issues, do not attend church or any other public gathering.

– Wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds regularly, or use a quality hand sanitizer made us of at least 60% alcohol.

– Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.

– Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you or someone you care for is in the high-risk group, that suggestion especially applies.

– Cover coughs and sneezes using the inside of your elbow, tissues or handkerchiefs. Dispose of tissues properly. Immediately wash your hands.

– Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly: phones, counters, desks, doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, toilets, sinks, faucets, etc. The CDC suggests using a solution of 5 tablespoons of household bleach mixed with one gallon of water (4 teaspoons per quart of water) or a solution made of 70% alcohol.

Each BCNM church is autonomous. Therefore, there is no edict or directive for churches to meet or not to meet. Personally, I will be in church Sunday morning with a little bottle of hand sanitizer, my Bible and my bride. Because we want to support and encourage BCNM congregations, we are creating information which will be continually updated on the BCNM website at www.bcnm.com/coronavirus. You will find helpful suggestions so each congregation might better prepare in the coming days.

Also, in these days, we anticipate a financial crisis that will affect families, churches, and our Southern Baptist Convention. Please, be especially watchful if you are able to minister to those in the body of Christ. And also, be faithful in your giving, whether in person, electronically, or via postal mail.

I remind everyone that, despite the hysteria, God is still God. Nothing takes him by surprise. This is a good time for more faith and less fantasy; more helping hands and less hysteria; more prayer and less pontificating. This will also be a wonderful time for families to draw together. As activities are being minimized, family time should be intensified. These are the times when faith is lived. And together, we will see this crisis become a thing of the past. I often jest that one of my favorite parts of the Bible is, “and it came to pass.” Continue to monitor the BCNM website for future events, schedules and helpful recommendations.

I love you and love serving you.

Dr. Joseph L. Bunce

Additional Resources

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State and National Resources

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) is closely monitoring the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in New Mexico. NMDOH recommends calling their office at (505) 827-0006, if either of the following statements are true of yourself:

You have fever, cough, or shortness of breath, and in the 14 days before your symptoms started, you visited China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, or were in contact with a person known to have COVID-19.

You don’t have fever, cough, or shortness of breath, but did travel to China, Iran, Italy, or South Korea, in the last 14 days, or were in contact with a person known to have COVID-19.

Additionally, the Center for Disease Control and the White House are working to curb the spread of COVID-19. Visit the links below for more information.

On Friday, March 27, Congress passed a nearly $2 trillion stimulus package to aid the U.S. economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes financial assistance for individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits – including churches. The following resources help explain how the stimulus package affects individuals, families, and churches.

The first resource is from LifeWay’s Facts and Trends. It breaks down potential benefits for pastors and churches.

The second resources is from Guidestone Financial Resources. It provides answers to dozens of frequently asked question pertaining to the stimulus package.

LifeWay Resources

LifeWay Christian Resources’ Leadership team has developed Coronavirus (COVID-19) response resources. To access these resources, individuals will need to log into an existing Ministry Grid account, or create a new account.

Resources include four videos: “How to Create a Pandemic Response Plan for Your Church,” “Three Phases of a Pandemic Response Plan,” “Your Church’s Leadership Pipeline in a Pandemic Response Plan,” and “Pandemic Planning Considerations.”

The second resource, produced by LifeWay Kids, gives options for children’s Bible study at home.

Guidestone Resources

Guidestone Financial Resources has released a statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19). The statement links to a resource page for pastors and church leaders as well as a statement on current stock market volatility. The resource page includes information on planning and risk assessment for churches, prevention planning guidance for churches, and GuideStone medical plan participant resources.

Additionally, Guidestone announced on March 11, that it will waive the cost of physician-orders diagnostic testing for COVID-19. More information on this development is included in Guidestone’s statement.

Remote Worship Service Resources

If churches must cease meeting physically, the BCNM encourages church leaders to consider utilizing these resources. Consider hosting virtual Sunday School and small group meetings, youth group worship services, staff meetings, men’s and women’s Bible studies, and weekly worship services.

Consider the different ways your church can meet for small groups and for worship remotely. The first resource (below) outlines several ways your church can meet from land-line friendly approaches to full-blown, interactive, live online worship sessions.

The second resource is a third party article that provides ideas for churches in different stages of worship alterations due to the coronavirus.

The third resource links to a website developed by Southern Baptist state convention leaders from across the United States, including the BCNM’s Lamar Morin. This website contains tools and videos to aid in remote worship.

The increasing spread of COVID-19 in New Mexico and beyond is causing ripple effects for local churches, which rely on the faithful giving of their members to remain operational.

In the not too distant future, more churches may be forced to cancel in-person services and begin streaming services online. With that change, it is important for churches to reassess their existing online giving capabilities, or, if they do not currently offer an online giving option, to implement one.

Fortunately, there is a myriad of online giving platforms available. Many of these platforms are created specifically for churches. Others have broader customer bases. The following giving platforms may work for churches due to the following criteria: transaction fee, option for the donor to cover the transaction fee, ease of implementation, ease of use and security.

Pushpay (www.pushpay.com)

  • Accepts credit, debit and ACH transactions
  • Contact Pushpay directly for pricing

GivePlus (www.vancopayments.com/egiving/church-app)

  • 2.75% + $0.49 per debit or credit transaction or 2.35% + $0.35 per debit or credit transaction, depending on plan
  • 1.00% + $0.45 per ACH transaction or 0.80% + $0.35 per ACH transaction, depending on plan
  • Text giving available for an additional $5 per month

Tithe.ly (www.get.tithe.ly)

  • Developed specifically for churches
  • 2.9% + $0.30 per debit or credit card transaction
  • 1% + $0.30 per ACH transaction
  • Includes an option for donors to cover the transaction fee
  • Offers a recurring payment option for donors
  • Offers free or paid plans

ShareFaith Giving (www.sharefaith.com)

  • Developed specifically for churches
  • 3% + $0.39 per debit or credit card transaction
  • 1% + $0.39 per ACH transaction
  • ShareFaith does not include an option for the donor to cover the transaction fee
  • Offers a recurring payment option for donors
  • $10 per month

PayPal (www.paypal.com)

  • 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction for qualified 501(c)(3) organizations
  • PayPal does not include an option for the donor to cover the transaction fee
  • No monthly fee
  • Offers a recurring payment option for donors
  • PayPal button can be embedded on any website

As always, the Baptist Convention of New Mexico staff is happy to assist churches and answer questions. For more information on implementing online giving through your church, contact the convention at (505) 924-2300.

This section contains resources for small group and Sunday school leaders seeking to shift to remote meetings. It may also be helpful for men’s and women’s Bible studies, youth groups, and other small group Bible studies.

The first resource is from Sunday School University (www.sundayschooluniversity.com). They are making all of their resources free for the next two months. In the linked video, Tim Smith provides details and shares how to best use SSU materials in a “remote” class.

The second resource is from LifeWay’s Facts & Trends. LifeWay is currently offering free Bible study curriculum, including “The Gospel Project,” “Bible Studies for Life” and “Explore the Bible.”

The following is a list of curated links from BCNM staff and Southern Baptist Convention entities.

SBC Entities

North American Mission Board COVID-19 Resources

Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission COVID-19 Resources

Baptist Press COVID-19 Articles

International Mission Board COVID-19 Resources

LifeWay’s Facts and Trends 

Small Groups and Sunday School

Two Weeks of Free Small Group Teaching Resources from Sunday School University

Small Group Ministry During COVID-19

Coronavirus

Should Churches Submit to Government Demands to Shut Down Services? by Bruce Ashford

5 Principles for Church Service Decision-Making in a COVID-19 World by Scott Patty

Responding to a Pandemic at Your Church by LifeWay Leadership

4 Things to Keep in Mind as You Respond to COVID-19 by LifeWay Young Adults

Is Your Church Ready for the Coronavirus? by Jamie Aten, Ph.D.

6 Questions to Ask When Reading the News by Dan Darling

Talking to Children
4 Tips for Talking to Your Kids About the Coronavirus by Josh Straub

How Do We Talk About Tragedy With Our Kids? by Jamie Ivey

2 Ways to Calm Your Anxious Child by Josh Straub

Church and Technology

How to Live Stream Your Service on Facebook by LifeWay Worship

4 Hurdles to Clear Before Streaming Your Worship Service by Mike Harland

9 Ways Your Church Can Use Facebook Live by Aaron Earls

6 Things Your Church May be Doing Illegally by Aaron Wilson
(focus on streaming services, music, posting images or video clips online)

3 Ways Facebook Groups Can Bridge the ‘Social Distancing’ Gap in Churches

Work and Ministry

6 Tips for Church Leaders on Working From Home by Aaron Wilson

3 Ways to Engage the Homebound in Church Life by Heather Hagstrom

Responding in a Time of Crisis by Student Ministry (podcast episode)

7 Ways Generosity Can Thrive in Your Church Even if You’re Not Gathering

Fear and Anxiety

We Must Walk Faithfully in Our Fear by Scarlet Hiltibidal

Finding Faith in the Midst of Fear by Scarlet Hiltibidal

3 Truths to Find Comfort in the Midst of Anxiety by Lilly Park

Fear Not: The Light of the World Has Come for You by Ruth Chou Simons

Trusting God to Be In Control by Lysa TerKeurst

What to Do When Your Are Afraid by Jackie Green and Lauren Green McAfee