Please watch Pastor Layne's video or read his message below, which contains the same information, for an update on next steps for McBIC.
When news of the coronavirus became public earlier this year, few of us understood the significant impact it would have on our worship services. For the past ten weeks, we’ve been unable to meet publicly for worship, and we still don’t know when we’ll re-gather. I commend our staff for their flexibility in transitioning to online services and adjusting other aspects of their ministry and I’m appreciative of our church family’s graciousness in willingly receiving all we’re trying to do. Your support, encouragement and prayers have blessed us deeply!
Though pastors and congregations readily agree “the church isn’t a building—it’s people,” the stay at home order surrounding the outbreak of the coronavirus has forced many of us to reconsider how we follow Jesus when we aren’t able to physically gather with our church family for worship. The current health crisis has also forced us to re-think what discipleship looks like when we’re not able to meet in person for worship.
Our governor will soon transition our county and surrounding counties to the “yellow phase,” and the inevitable question on many church goers’ minds is, “When will we meet again for public worship?” It’s a simple question with a complicated answer. Over the past several weeks, our staff and I have invested much time researching, discussing among ourselves and with other area pastors, and praying about our next steps as a church.
Factors in this decision include our concern for the health and safety of our church family and local community—especially the most vulnerable among us; our intention to honor and respect state government officials as they provide leadership for us; our collective witness as a church to the surrounding community; and our desire to meet together for worship in a way that feels true to who McBIC is. (Worship will feel very different if we adhere to social distancing guidelines, don’t sing and aren’t able to resume normal ministry to children and teens.)
As our staff and church board have processed the question, “When will we meet again publicly for worship?” we’re committed to the following values:
Safety—We’re committed to establishing and maintaining processes and protocols that protect our church family—particularly those among us who are most vulnerable—and the wider community.
Inclusivity—We’re committed to worshipping in a way that allows as much of our church family as possible to participate, because children, teens and adults of all ages are an integral part of our church family.
Providing an experience that feels like worship @ McBIC—While we understand church will feel different than pre-coronavirus—at least for a time—we’re committed to providing a meaningful worship experience that is consistent with who McBIC is.
Our current circumstances and the above values lead us to pursue the following course of action for McBIC’s next steps:
We’ll continue recording online services in our current format for the next several months.
We will produce daily devotionals and Worship Wednesdays through the end of May.
On Mondays in June, we’ll feature videos of people who have been partnering with God to carry out his mission during the coronavirus crisis.
Over the next two weeks—through surveys and conversations—our staff will be discerning how we can best resource teens, adults and families with children to grow UP with God through prayer and worship, IN community with other followers of Jesus and OUT in service and outreach to the hurting in our community and to those who don’t know Jesus.
During the summer, we’ll continue evaluating the status of the coronavirus based on the direction we’re receiving from our government and the experience of businesses and other organizations that have reopened. Our evaluation will also take into consideration the precautions that will allow us to safely worship together as a church family.
As we look toward the future and next steps, you might find this visual helpful:
As we walk through the next several months, we encourage each of us to pursue…
Growth in your relationship with Jesus. Even though we’re not meeting publicly for worship, we have the opportunity to grow in our relationship with God, in community with others and in service to our community.
Unity in the Body of Christ. Amidst the polarization that’s so prevalent in our culture, the church has the opportunity to shine like stars in the darkness (Philippians 2:15). Resist the temptation to judge or speak ill of others who view the coronavirus threat differently than you do or hold a political opinion different from your own. Resist labeling churches as uncaring or fearful if they open earlier or later than you think they should. We won’t all see eye to eye on decisions that are made or in how we approach gathering in small groups or returning to church. However, we are all called to love and honor each other, to extend grace to each other, and to pursue unity in Christ.
Service to those in need and to those who don’t know Jesus. At a time when it’s tempting to turn inward and focus on ourselves and those we’re close to, we have an amazing opportunity to serve those in need and to share Jesus’ love and truth with those who don’t know Him.
I love and miss you and am honored to have the privilege of being your pastor. While I look forward to us being able to meet again for public worship, I’m also excited about opportunities this season provides for us to grow individually and as a church. May God bless us richly as we continue to pursue Him and his will for our lives.
Your partner in ministry,