“Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.” –– 1 Peter 2:13-14 (NKJV)
“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” –– Proverbs 19:21 (NLT)
In our current plans for reopening, we are doing our best to interpret and follow the three phases for reopening given by our governor. These plans must be somewhat general and flexible as the details for each phase are revealed.
For instance, we posted in our last blog on reopening that there would be no change in our worship meetings during phase one. However, we had no sooner posted, when the governor’s office gave a clarification that outdoor gatherings of unlimited size would actually be allowed in phase one. Therefore, we began outdoor worship services in our parking lot at both campuses on May 10th. This is an example of how our plans may change at the last minute based on a more detailed understanding from the governor’s office. With this in mind, here are our current plans for reopening for the next few weeks…
This phase began on May 9th and will last a minimum of 14 days. During this phase our plans are as follows:
- Outdoor worship services will be offered weather-permitting at both locations at 9:15 AM on Sundays. Bring your own lawn chair and practice social distancing. All worship lyrics, sermon notes, and giving options will be offered via our Church Center app.
- Online streaming of the 11AM worship service will continue (We can’t stop now. It’s become too important to our ministry).
- Our Community Groups, men’s and women’s ministries, and youth ministries have the option of meeting at outdoor gatherings. Whether they meet online or outdoors will be up to the leaders of each CG and ministry. Again, CDC guidelines for social distancing and hand-washing remain in effect.
We hope to follow this plan through Sunday, May 28th, Memorial Day weekend.
According to the governor, the earliest this phase may begin is May 23rd. The major feature of phase two that affects our church is this: “Gatherings at houses of worship and entertainment venues will be allowed at reduced capacities.” Assuming it does begin on May 23rd, and assuming that the governor will give us further clarification as to what these “reduced capacities” are, we plan to do as follows:
- On Tuesday, May 26th, we will reopen our church offices. Church staff will return to regular in-person office hours.
- On May 31st, we plan to begin “reduced capacity” indoor worship services at both campuses.
- We may ask attenders to register for a particular service and time in order to manage capacities. This will be announced later.
- The church building will be cleaned before services and doors will be propped open to avoid touching surfaces.
- There will be no bulletins, no coffee service, and no Lord’s Supper during this phase to limit touching of surfaces.
- Attenders will be encouraged to bring their own hand sanitizer as needed. Anyone choosing to wear masks or other personal protection equipment will be welcomed, but not required.
- Active seating by ushers will be required of those attending. Attenders will be asked to sit where the ushers tell them to sit in order to manage social distancing (Please make this easy for our ushers).
- Special preparations are being made by our children’s ministries for indoor gathering. These will be announced by our children’s leaders very soon.
- Our Community Groups, men’s and women’s ministries, and youth ministries will now have the option of meeting indoors. Again, this will be up to the leaders of each ministry and group.
The earliest possible date for Phase Three to begin is after June 20th. At this time, greater indoor meeting capacities will be allowed for churches. However again, the governor has not given a number for this capacity. Assuming this phase lasts as long as phase two, then the earliest that phase three will end will be after July 18th. We are not ready to offer any details at this time about how we will respond to this phase. But we will keep you informed as we are able.
We’ve been amazed at your faithfulness during this season. You’ve shown us over and over that what we’ve been saying for 28 years is true: “The church is not the steeple. It’s the people!”
We’re believing the best days are ahead for the Church!