UPDATED: LifePoint Church & COVID-19
In response to Governor Ducey’s recommendation for statewide closures of all gatherings over 50 people and the CDC’s advisory this morning of less than 10, I am recommending LifePoint follow this guideline at a minimum of the next 2 weeks.
I know a decision like this is not mine to make alone so I received a consensus from the board and our pastors to stand in agreement with me on this matter, as I believe it is currently the most loving thing we can do for our community. I also want to outline what I see as some next step going forward this week to stay connected with you.
Closing our doors for the next 2 weeks for Sunday morning services, midweek Youth Groups, LifeGroups, & Mom’sLife:
- While the number of infected is minuscule now here in AZ, (only 18 to date), the facts have shown that the spread becomes exponential once full “community spread” has happened. While that still is not a big concern for children or healthy adults under 60, it can be deadly for those with medical conditions and the elderly. So we not only have a responsibility to those members of our congregation and our community to not become carriers ourselves we also have a responsibility to our health care professionals.
- If community spread were to reach its full potential it will buckle our healthcare system and cause similar situations we are seeing in Italy & Spain.
- I see it as not only being socially responsible but spiritually as well. When people feel that we are taking care of their physical needs, they will trust us with their spiritual. AS PASTORS AND STAFF WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK DAILY TO MEET THE NEEDS OF OUR CONGREGANTS AND OUR COMMUNITY. WE ARE COLLECTING ITEMS THAT ARE IN SHORT SUPPLY & WE PRAY YOU WOULD BRING ITEMS IN TO DONATE TO THE OFFICE BETWEEN 9-4 MON-THURS.
- This is not an unfair shutdown of churches only, it is not targeted at churches to silence us, it is a statewide sweeping measure to stop the spread of the disease and future deaths. Because of that I believe wisdom and caution should be implemented, but as individuals in this community we should not retreat from helping others when the needs arise, each person in this community is “THE CHURCH.”
- At the end of the 2 weeks we will get together and reassess what our next steps will be.
- This will have a financial impact on the church as roughly $7K comes into the church on Sunday mornings. That will be a loss of $14K for the next two weeks unless our congregants give through the mail, bring tithes to the office throughout the week or through our many online avenues.
- We just had a great weekend with nearly $25K coming for general tithes and offering and God has moved mightily in the finances of the church and set us up to be able to give generously during this time to meet community needs.
What we plan on doing during the next 2 weeks and Sunday Mornings
- We will be suspending all activities that meet on our church property.
- We will be connected through social media and newsletter providing spiritual guidance and discipleship. We will increase our communication and provide educational as well as disciple-based talks and articles daily.
- We will create a way to encourage people who have not downloaded the app, or liked our Facebook page to do so, this will keep them connected to the church during this time. If you can, please feel free to share these media with people asking how to stay connected.
- During Sunday morning we will be recording a live service at 9:45am that will also be live via FaceBook. In this service we will have a full worship band, time of communion for people to partake with those in their homes, and a call to give digitally and the current needs the church is meeting during this crisis. We will then have a message which Pastor Nathan will deliver and closing worship. We will post the message to our website and YouTube channel at 12:30am and encourage those who haven’t seen to take time with their families and worship with us.
- As a staff there are numerous projects here around the church as well as congregant visits that I am sure will need to be made over the coming weeks, so this will also fill our time.
I hope this helps you all have an understanding of what God has laid on my heart and my prayer is we will all come into agreement on the steps for moving forward in this.
I saw this on FaceBook this morning and felt it most accurately described what I have been saying during this time.
If you are concerned about COVID-19, a little lesson from church history may give perspective. This is Martin Luther’s approach as he faced the plague “Black death”.
“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their deaths as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely findv me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”
Matthew 8:26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.