Plans for Regathering

  • We are committed to measured steps toward regathering that are informed by governmental guidelines
  • We are working toward allowing limited increase in attendance on Sunday morning

I have talked to a lot of people about when and how we can get back to the full expression of the gathered church – exuberant singing of praise, sitting together under God’s word specifically for us as a church community, participating in communion, intimate fellowship with holy hugs & kisses and all the rest. Ah! How we long for that!!

Our longing isn’t just for a familiar cultural experience. The gathering I describe above is what we are graciously invited to and solemnly commanded by Scripture to participate in regularly (Acts 2:42-47, I Corinthians 10:16-17, I Corinthians 14:26, Colossians 3:15-17, Hebrews 10:23-25). Livestream services and video chat community groups are helpful, but they are not the same thing.

So, until how to get from here to there becomes clearer, we need to look at our hearts. Brett McCracken in his excellent article, “Church, Don’t Let Coronavirus Divide You,” calls us to some countercultural heart responses:

  • Countercultural Sacrifice
    • We will be called to social distance, wear masks and do other things that may be difficult and frustrating. You may feel they are totally unnecessary. Rather than complaining or judging others who do feel these precautions are necessary, God will be most glorified by us sacrificing our rights and preferences in deference to and respect for others.
  • Countercultural Humility
    • Six months ago, everyone on social media was an expert on North Korea and Impeachment. Now they are experts on infectious diseases and willing to fight about it. God calls us to something different. We may not be remarkable in our knowledge, but we can be remarkable in our humility. The Bible calls us to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. So, let’s be willing to humbly embrace the best efforts that we can come up with.
  • Countercultural Patience
    • I’ve been meeting with 15 executive pastors and administrators from church in our area. We’ve been wrestling with how to begin to regather. One of them said something that stuck with me, “There are so many reasons we for us to want to gather again. Let’s don’t let impatience be one of them.”
    • In that meeting I learned that some churches are opening to around 35% capacity this weekend, but with no singing. Others are looking at July or August and some are considering that it may be sometime in 2021 before they begin to gather again
    • We don’t have a date yet, but we are looking for ways to begin moving in that direction. It will be important for us to set our expectations knowing that intermediate steps still won’t be that full experience that we are longing for. So, we need patience.

Hebrews 6:11-12 

11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

So, for now, hang it there! Don’t grow weary in well doing. Make attending your Community Group a priority. While we are still asking CG’s to meet virtually and to not meet indoors in homes, some Community Groups are looking to meet outdoors, while respecting social distancing. That’s a great idea.

Also, make the Sunday service livestream a top priority. Plan to tune it at 10:00 am to participate and receive from God’s word. You may be able to hear and see gifted preachers somewhere else, but this is the only place you can hear the word God gave to your pastor for you and your church right now.