Our Approach to Gathering During Covid-19
We are so thankful for the many ways God has continued to provide for Faith Bible Church and use the ministries within our church family to reach the needs of so many in our community. However, this season has also been a constant, humbling reminder of just how finite we all are - whether we are long-time church members, new to Faith Bible, or church leadership. The novel coronavirus is just that - it is new to every single one of us, which means it is a moving target in terms of data and ever-changing statistics. Even with all of the data available at our fingertips, our knowledge of this virus is incredibly limited, which in turn makes it challenging to discern a clear path forward.
When it comes to how Faith Bible Church leadership has and will continue to navigate these uncertain times, we want to share with you our commitment to certain values in our decision-making process.
Because we are finite and our knowledge is limited, we are keenly aware of our need for God’s help in this season. Every decision has been and will continue to be met with much prayer for God’s wisdom and guidance throughout this challenging time. We fully trust that He will lead us, graciously provide for us, and protect us as we press into the unknown future. Our prayers remain centered around two main questions that we constantly hold in tension:
1. How do we faithfully provide opportunities for spiritual growth in the context of deep and meaningful community?
2. How can we provide the safest environment possible for those of all ages in our church family?
In addition to covering every decision with prayer, we are carefully monitoring the situation, taking into consideration the advice of local and state public health authorities at every step along the way. We also keep a watchful eye on statistics such as the percent positive test rate, number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in our area due to COVID-19. In addition to monitoring this data, we have a number of health professionals in our church family, and others in our area, with whom we have consulted during the pandemic. Moving forward, we will continue to monitor this data and seek out wise counsel from the gifted men and women God has placed in our path who are working on the front lines.
Prevention Over Reaction
Preventative measures like social distancing and wearing masks have proven to be effective in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. “Flattening the curve” is a phrase many of us have heard often, especially at the beginning of the pandemic. This concept requires diligence over the long run. The preventative measures that make flattening the curve most effective may feel overreactive to some, especially in times when numbers are looking better. However, as we carefully and prayerfully navigate these uncharted waters, we have chosen a more cautious approach that emphasizes prevention as well as love and compassion for others, including our community’s most vulnerable members. These measures also prevent us from having to react and constantly adjust/readjust to rising and falling numbers or even positive cases in our church. We are grateful that God has allowed us the privilege of meeting together, and we hope to continue gathering without further interruptions. The goal is prevention, not reaction.
With each step along the way, and with each decision we must make as leaders, we are humbled - humbled as we prayerfully seek what is best for our church family when data are inconclusive and decisions are not straightforward. We are humbled as we make decisions that have the potential to affect the lives of others positively or negatively, balancing a tension that seems impossible to resolve. It has reminded us over and over again to find what we need in Christ and to seek our unity in Him alone. Even among our leadership team there is a diversity of opinions, but we have continued to strive for unity around what matters most - “striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).
You may have noticed that we recently relaxed some of the policies and restrictions for our small and large group gatherings, and it is our hope to pursue further incremental and reasonable relaxations moving forward as we prayerfully monitor the situation. We understand that there are many differing opinions regarding various restrictions in our world today. At times, practices we adopt may be perceived as too stringent for some and too relaxed for others. However, this is a time to exercise grace and humility toward one other like never before. Through all of this, we pray that God continues to humble all of us and remind us of our desperate need for Him. It is a joy to lead you, church family, and we covet your prayers as we walk together through this season.