We are now a month and a half into our shutdown and I'm pretty sure every single one of us is itching to get back to our "normal" way of life. There are so many opinions and I'm sure our church is diverse in the way people are thinking about how we reopen things. Some people see the steps our Governor has taken as drastic and unnecessary while others see them as not enough. Let me encourage you to do something. PRAY FOR GOVERNOR IVEY. Her job is not easy. She has millions of people that she serves and her decisions affect all of us.
I also want to say, thank you, for those who have been fervently praying for me and for our church staff. We want to honor our Governor and health officials and at the same time stay connected and try to figure out ways we can move forward slowly and safely.
I want to provide you with a little bit of information regarding our plans moving forward. Let me begin by saying a couple of things:
1) Our cues are coming from Governor Ivey and our state health officials. They are working around the clock on this and are very smart and well-intentioned people. Our decisions are primarily based on the information being released by the Governor and her task force. What I'm sharing here, today, is not an all encompassing plan because so much is still unknown.
2) We are primarily concerned about the health and safety of our church family and our testimony to our city. Whether we like it or not the church has had a target on her back for many years and the world is watching what we do and how we respond.
What I am sharing below are the concrete - already made - plans for our church for the summer. Our staff and deacons met this past week and prayerfully considered these decisions. I will be updating this post periodically as more decisions are made by the staff and deacon body. These were not easy decisions to make but, again, all of them are for the health, safety, and testimony of the church.
1. All 2020 Taylor Road mission trips are canceled.
2. All Wednesday evening ON-CAMPUS activities are cancelled through July. We will reevaluate in August.
3. Vacation Bible School is being reevaluated. We are looking into a **possible** condensed (time, dates, and activities) later in the summer. We will confirm this decision in the next couple of weeks.
4. As of now, ALL on-campus activities (with the possible exception of what is written below in #5) are cancelled through July.
5. Indoor worship services and small groups are cancelled until further notice. Our hope is that the Governor will, over the next several weeks, increase the allowance for crowd sizes. We will move forward, with social distancing protocols in place, as our leaders recommend and allow. We realize that as the summer progresses our drive-in services will have hotter temperatures. We also understand that we all want to resume face to face small groups. Our biggest concern, however, is how we disinfect the meeting areas after each use and ensure social distancing.
Lord willing we will be able to make a decision on how to safely resume indoor services sometime in late May/early June. These indoor gatherings (at least for a while) will not look the same as they did before this crisis. We are looking into overflow rooms and multiple services. We will take social distancing and disinfecting very seriously.
Let me strongly encourage you to continue persevering. I know this isn't ideal or what any of us really want but let's not waste this time, either. God has greatly blessed us with technology and so many of our small groups have been utilizing these tools for their meetings. Please continue to do so! We need to stay connected and growing together.
Let me also encourage you to join us for our drive-in services beginning May 2. All of the details can be found on our home page. Continue to pray for us, as a staff, as we make decisions and seek the wisdom of God.
I love you, church family, and ask that you continue to lift us up in prayer.