A Message from Pastor Bob Willis
By the time you read this, many churches will have reopened. In fact some did last week in direct violation of state and county mandates. Many who opened this past Sunday stated that they will be exceeding the regulations that we have been given by the state.
I do agree that the 25% occupancy or 100 people (whichever is less) is a ridiculous expectation for larger congregations. But, that’s what we’ve got right now. I hope a few don’t ruin it for the rest of us.
Many of you have been asking when we are going to open the building. I’ll tell you what my convictions and beliefs are.
First, I do not yet believe that this is a constitutional issue; It is a public health issue.
The argument that if big box stores are open, why can’t we open is a weak argument. I don’t believe that big box stores should have been allowed to open – only grocery stores and small businesses where social distancing can be managed. Nevertheless, wrong decisions should never be an argument to make other wrong decisions. Let’s all step back and imagine how we would feel if a loved one was infected by this terrible virus.
Second, we are responsible, before God, to obey those in authority over us.
Romans 13:1-7 (NLT)
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.
How does our recklessly moving forward without consent comply with the Biblical instructions to obey those in authority?
Thirdly, we are not “forsaking the assembling together”.
Through a variety of methods – on line services, Zoom prayer gatherings and Bible studies, constant communication through text, phone and emails, we have been meeting together.
Don’t get me wrong; I can’t wait until we can meet face to face. But, the fact that we’re not in person together, when we’ve been in constant communication, is a weak excuse.
Fourth and I’ve said this before: I don’t trust Northparkers to practice social distancing!
We like each other way too much!
Fifth, the logistics of meeting together immediately are a nightmare!
Temperature checks. Everyone signing in so that we all can be tracked if someone contracts the virus. Release forms. No singing, or singing through masks. Limited capacity. Getting everyone in and out in an orderly fashion and in a way where social distancing is maintained. In my opinion, this is just not functional.
I have a lot of other thoughts, but those are for another time. I want to meet in person desperately, but it has to be a safe and beneficial experience for all.
So, in answer to the question: When are we going to start meeting in our facility again? I don’t know yet. But, I do know it will be as soon as we can while guaranteeing the health of ALL.
And remember, The Church is the people, not a building.
These are really tough decisions for me. Please continue to pray for me and for our church staff.
I Love All Y’all!
Pastor Bob Willis