I have never wanted to focus this blog on events that take place in the Church I lead. I desire to share information with people that I think will be a blessing all over the state, the country, and even the world.
Today I am going to step out of that routine and share some of what has transpired in the past four days at my Church that culminated with us canceling all programs until March 31 at this point. Then we will revisit the situation and make plans for the future.
By now, everyone is familiar with the situation with Covid-19 and how it is impacting American and the world. Well, last Saturday, it hit closer to home as a town less than an hour away had a reported case. We decided to continue with worship and told at-risk people to stay home. 178 people showed up for worship. Since then, there are a couple more cases that have brought the virus within 20 minutes of us. The government is asking for groups over ten not to meet, and so we decided to cancel and then reevaluate in 14 days.
Here are the factors that went into the decision.
- The safety of everyone. This is our first concern. While it appears to be less of a risk to younger people, there is still a risk, and we do not want to contribute to the health care crisis being placed on our medical community
- Concern for our at-risk people and senior citizens. Last Sunday, we saw that about one-third of the people who should not have attended worship – decided to attend anyway. We realize that some people will come every time the doors are open, and we decided to force them to stay home for their own safety.
- Insurance considerations. No one wants to mention this, but I will. Our insurance is making it seem like people could sue us for negligence if they contract the virus at Church. Most likely, it would be an angry family member who would do this, and we would probably be liable.
- Availability of online material. We have cameras and the ability to record and place the sermons online. We already have a thriving presence online, and this move will not stop us from doing ministry.
- Quality issues. With people keeping social distance, we had only one children’s worker willing to attend if we held worship. I totally understand this, but it would be challenging to have high-quality programs with a lack of workers. Not to mention the extra help needed to keep things sanitized.
- God is still in control. Last year our Church missed three Sundays for snow, ice, and a power outage. We had two other Sundays where we held only one program instead of two. Still, we made budget and saw people come to a saving relationship with Jesus. If we honor him, he will provide all we need to keep ministering in his name.
I know a handful of people will be upset that we decided to cancel. They will claim we lack faith or trust in God. None of this is true. When the leadership and I looked at the big picture, we felt God leading us to take a few weeks off from worship. Hopefully, people will use this time to pray, read their Bible, and use some of the resources that are available for them to grow in the Lord.