Pastor Bob Willis | November 20, 2020
Have you ever wrestled with a decision?
Haven’t we all during these past 8 months!
I’ve been wrestling with a decision these past several days.
The government has moved us back to the purple tier of the COVID protocol in light of increasing numbers of COVID in our county. That means that we are supposed to suspend all indoor gatherings.
I feel bound as a Christian to be obedient to those in authority.
Romans 13:1-7 (NLT) says;
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.
I also feel bound as a pastor to watch over Northpark Community Church, as one who will give account to God someday.
Hebrews 13:17 (The MESSAGE Translation)
Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them?
I take my responsibility to care for each of you spiritually, emotionally, mentally, relationally and physically very seriously.
Friends, this virus is a real danger. We currently have Northparkers who are struggling with this virus. I also have a good friend who is very ill.
We also have many who are starved for fellowship/relationship and when we cannot meet together their struggle intensifies. A huge part of the Church’s responsibility is to promote opportunities for all of us to grow in Christ together.
So you see, I have a decision to make regarding the safety and spiritual growth for us all. A decision that will be applauded by some and disagreed with by others.
But, after much prayer and deliberation I have come to a decision;
- We will continue having an outdoor service at 8 a.m.
Masks and social distancing are mandatory
- We will continue to livestream at 10 a.m.
Although we have had indoor services during this time the past few weeks, I am encouraging you all to not come; especially those of you who are older and/or at higher risk.
But, if you need fellowship, human interaction and an in person worship experience, and you show up at 10 a.m. you will not be turned away.
You will be allowed to come in and participate in worship, but you must follow all of our safety protocols. We must insist that you wear a mask and practice social distancing.
The same protocols will be followed for children and teenagers (they are perhaps the ones most negatively impacted by the sociological impacts of being isolated during this time) whose parents feel that it is safe and necessary for them to attend. They too will not be turned away. Get more information about children and youth here.
It pains me to make this decision. I want us ALL to be together. Hopefully we will return to the red tier and to lesser restrictive tiers soon.
I also realize that other churches are being much less fastidious in their protocol. I love them and support each one of them. But, I have to make the decision that God is leading me to make on behalf of Northpark. I hope that you will all understand and be patient.
James 5:7-9 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.
9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!
Looking forward to seeing you soon,