Midweek Update | May 6, 2020 | Drew Hunter
Update on Regathering Planning
- Drew Hunter (for the Elders)
We wanted to update you with how we are thinking through regathering plans in light of governor Holcomb’s Friday announcement about reopening Indiana. We want to share a few principles that guide us, a few factors we’re considering, and then our general plan as elders.
Key Principles to Guide Us
First, here are four of key principles guiding us right now.
- We prioritize gathering together as a church. Hebrews 10:25 says, “do not forsake meeting together, as is the habit of some.” Our online streaming is a gift, but it’s not ideal. Whenever we are able to gather, we are okay with it being awkward. It doesn’t have to be a perfect experience.
- Our posture is to honor the state where we can. Romans 13 calls us to submit to our governing authorities. We’re grateful for how governor Holcomb and other leaders have been thinking through this. We think their plans are wise in this situation and we’re happy to work with it. They are taking a progressive approach to opening up various kinds of group-settings over the next few months. Churches are allowed to meet with recommended social distancing guidelines, but are also encouraged to continue to meet online.
- We want to love our neighbors and be a good witness in our community. We want to love our neighbors well by being very cautious with large gatherings.
- We pursue unity even in the midst of differing opinions. Ephesians 4:1-3 calls us to pursue humility, gentleness, patience, and to bear with one another in love. We know that many within our church (and outside of our church) will have different ideas about what is right for them or for us. We want to leave space for people to live in light of their different ideas and convictions.
Important Factors to Consider
We also wanted to share a few factors we’re taking into consideration.
- We’re taking into consideration the wisdom of others. We’ve been in touch with a number of pastors in the area to learn from them about their plans. We’ve also heard from various community leaders in our area who are grateful that churches are thinking through a careful and cautious approach.
- We’re taking our church size into consideration. Smaller churches will tend to regather more quickly, and larger churches will tend to take more time. The larger the gathering, the more risk of spreading the virus and the more complications in meeting social distancing guidelines. We’re a medium-sized church, so we’re somewhere in the middle of complexity.
- We also are taking our church's makeup into consideration. A significant portion of our church family are in vulnerable ages, or have health conditions, or have young children. So an immediate gathering would exclude a significant portion of our church family.
Our Plan, Lord Willing
In light of all of these principles and factors, we are seeking to move forward in a prudent and measured way, submitting all our plans to the Lord and his timing.
Regarding our Sunday gatherings for the month of May, we are going to continue with our online meeting. We won’t meet in person as a church family yet; we’ll continue to join together online at 10am on Sundays. We will be taking the next few weeks in May to see how things develop with the virus and the government guidelines as we assess our plan for June. We are considering the possibility of starting to regather with caution sometime in June (or having multiple gatherings for the sake of caution with numbers and adherence to social distancing guidelines). If that is possible and wise, we will communicate to you a week or two in advance. Either way, we will still continue our online streaming option for those who would not be able to attend. So, we’ll be seeing how things develop in May and let you know our plans for June as it gets closer.
We recommend that small groups and ministry meetings continue to use Zoom for the next few weeks. If groups do meet in person, we ask that they follow the CDC’s recommended guidelines. This may just be for a few weeks; we will continue to assess the situation and communicate as changes seem wise. As we decide that certain ministries can start regathering in person, we’ll let them know four weeks ahead of time.
We’ll also be reaching out to those who have events scheduled in the building to give guidance.
Continuing to Be and Make Disciples of Jesus Christ
As we continue to move through these strange times, let’s keep leaning into worship, community, and mission.
- Worship: let’s keep walking with the Lord through repentance and faith, in his word and prayer. And let’s keep prioritizing our Sunday morning gathering at 10am.
- Community: Let’s keep engaging with each other. Keep reaching out to one another and encouraging each other. Get creative.
- Mission: let’s keep loving our neighbors well. Check in on them. Invite those who don’t know Jesus to tune into our Sunday online gathering.
May 6, 2020