I wanted to give you a brief update on some decisions we’ve made that will impact our church family over the next couple weeks. Last night, I met with our elders to discuss our response to COVID-19. We made the decision to cancel our Sunday services on March 22 and March 29. This wasn’t a decision that was made lightly, but it was also one that we all agreed was the best decision given the circumstances.
Why cancel? Let me give you three reasons…
1) It’s an issue of loving our neighbors. Look, I’m in a demographic that is less likely to have severe symptoms if I contract COVID-19. But for me, it’s not about me. It’s about the people around me. I don’t want to catch the virus. And I don’t want you to catch it. Love your neighbor as yourself.
2) It isn’t about fear. It’s about responsibility. Because of Christ, we have a peace that surpasses all understanding. And we know that nothing separates us from him. But that doesn’t mean we throw caution to the wind. The CDC, the president, our governor, numerous medical professionals, and many others have all talked about the importance of social-distancing, avoiding large groups, and doing our part to help prevent the spread. We hear a lot these days about flattening the curve. And as a church family, we are going to do our part.
3) This is what love requires of us right now. Even through I think it is the right decision, I absolutely hate that we cannot meet in person right now. Because there is something about the body of Christ meeting together that is beyond words. We will do some things to fill the void online and by phone, but that does not replace the in-person gathering of Christians. If you are a follower of Jesus, we need to gather together. We need community. And yet despite my sadness, I know we must do this… because it is what love requires of us for a season.
One thing I said to our Elders last night was that throughout history in times of hardship, the church seems not only to be resilient, but it seems to grow. I have no doubt that we are one day going to look back on this season, and we’ll be able to point to it as a moment when we were reminded of our mission as the body of Christ. There are going to be new methods of ministry dreamed up during this time that we never thought of before. And I have no doubt that even in the midst of all this, people are going to encounter Christ in a way that they had not up to this point.
Over the next few days, I’ll being giving you more of a picture of what we’ll be doing – on facebook and online – for the next few weeks. There’s part of me that is extremely sad. But another part of me is hopeful – because, Church, our best days are to come!