Guiding Principles for Regathering

Dear Central, 

I want to give you an idea of how we’re preparing for that complex time when we will move out of our isolation and begin to open our building. I wish that this could be a firm timetable, loaded with specifics but what I can give to you is a sense of how we are approaching these important decisions. Keep in mind the building is closed and will remain closed to all activities until we can open it safely and follow these principles.

Guiding Principles for Opening the Building:

  1. Follow the laws, advice, and direction coming from our state authorities.
  2. Base decisions on the welfare of our congregation with regard to: 
      • Physical and spiritual health.
      • Doing effective ministry is not in conflict with protecting vulnerable people.
      • Using the best health practices (masks, sterilizing facilities, social distancing, etc).
  3. Embrace the new normal.   
      • Some expressions of ministry will best be left off-site or online in our restoration plans. Evaluate the effectiveness of ministry patterns and events, and not just look to restore old habits.
  4. Worship gatherings are a high priority but will be limited by the best health practices.
  5. We will be informed by insurance and legal counsel.
  6. Remain flexible as circumstances continue to evolve.

There is a personal side to being ready for the days ahead, too.  We can make at least two mistakes in our thinking.  The first is that we are waiting for things to get back to the way they used to be. This interruption is not beyond God’s reach. If we want to be God’s church we have to always be reforming and changing. 

The second mistake is So how are you reforming and changing? This is a God-given time to reflect, experiment, and change. Now is the time to do the “homework” to be ready for the new normal. Here are some suggestions:

Focus on the 3 Discipleship Questions. Work through the Neighborhood Missionary course in order to learn new skills and ask new questions. Share your reflections, experiments, and the ways you have seen God work through a short video. (And check out some of the God Sightings on the church website!) Finally, you might want to donate some of your stimulus check to the Deacons (benevolence) fund to use to assist unemployed people.

And pray. Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Eph 6:18)

In Christ,

Pastor John