While restrictions are being lifted in our area and around the country, the coronavirus pandemic is still bringing illness, death, economic impact, and mental, emotional, and social struggles. We pray for God’s mercy in our world, and we are grateful to him that our region is opening back up.
The type of impact and the kind of responses we’ve seen in people’s lives has varied significantly. For some their lives have been upended, while for others not much has changed. Some are battling anxiety and depression, while others have felt blessed by a slower pace of life. Some have loved ones battling coronavirus or have provided direct care for COVID-19 patients, while for others it is just something on the news. Some are out of work and struggling financially, while others are busier than ever. Some are eager to run through the doors of the church with hugs abounding! While others – due to personal health concerns or other circumstances and convictions – need more time. No matter where you are, you are a valuable part of the church family. Let’s give grace to one another.
Our own church leadership, as with most others, has had much discussion, considered various resources, and sought the Lord in prayer, as we plan the appropriate next steps for the life of our congregation. These five values have guided our approach:
- Fellowship & Worship: As followers of Jesus, we prioritize the regular gathering of believers for fellowship, worship, and the Word. We are eager to gather with as many people as possible, as soon as possible, as safely as possible.
- Unity & Humility: There are a wide-range of strongly held convictions about the coronavirus pandemic and how individuals, businesses, governments, and churches should respond. As followers of Jesus, we are called to walk in humility, grace, love, and unity with one another. We seek to outdo one another in showing honor. You would do well to consider this wise and convicting article: Church, Don’t Let Coronavirus Divide You.
- Health & Safety: As Christians, we want to do all that we reasonably can to value and protect the vulnerable in our community. We honor and reflect Jesus when we sacrifice our own needs for the needs of others. We pray for peace and safety in God’s world.
- Honoring Guidelines: There is no authority on earth except that which is instituted by God. Our church leadership seeks to honor all state and federal guidance, as long as it does not conflict with our obedience to God. We pray God would grant wisdom to our leaders.
- Community Witness: We are called to be a light to the world around us, so we want to live and gather in such a way that our attitudes and actions display faith, grace, humility, courage, and love to the world.
As the Holy Spirit has led us through these considerations, we put together this ReGathering Plan to meet our needs. Different churches, in different regions, with different needs, will have their own plan. Some Christians will look at their church’s plan as being too strict, while others will see it as too loose. Be encouraged to trust your local leadership and seek humility and unity in the Spirit.
Christians, let’s continue to pray for our churches, our region, our nation, and our world. Our Heavenly Father is good. He loves his people. And he has a plan. Be patient and trust him.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3