As many of the 50 states begin to enter into phase two of opening up, what will gatherings of your church look like? This is no doubt a question that’s been on all of our minds for quite some time. All of us have desperately missed the fellowship we enjoy when we gather together and we’ve been chomping at the bit to be back together for months. As we consider when we will meet together again in person, a key passage of scripture comes to my mind: “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. (1 Corinthians 10:23–24). Does this passage of scripture connect with you as it has with me?
What are some of the things you have considered before your church gathers together again in a large group? How many people should attend a service gathering with social distancing guidelines in place? How many services should a church hold? Are there cleaning protocols that are needed between the gatherings? How much time should there be between multiple gatherings in order to clean and disinfect? Are there enough volunteers who are willing to serve in this capacity? Will members attend a gathering if nursery or children’s classes aren’t made available? Should face masks be mandatory or optional?
Given the questions above, is your church planning on live streaming weekly services well into the future or possibly permanently? Maybe your church hasn’t yet lived streamed a service but maybe you are thinking about this as a supplemental way to reach members and those that don’t yet follow Jesus.
As we begin gathering together again as the church I can’t help but think about what Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus. Paul said, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called (Ephesians 4:1-3). A spirit of division is not the Spirit of Christ and of his church. As we proceed forward, may we all pray and keep God’s two greatest commandments; loving God and loving people.
Peace and in His service!
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