Why & How: Principles & Practicalities

Principles  to  Pursue

Good Neighbors—we will prioritize the wellbeing of others in what we do (Romans 13).

  • “Love does not harm to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).

  • Biblical neighbor-love goes beyond treating others in ways that are consistent with our own principles, and leans into the opportunity to be a person whom others can trust to look out for their interests as quickly and naturally as we look out for our own. 

Godly Citizens—we will honor governing authorities (1 Peter 2). 

  • “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority. . . . Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s servants” (1 Peter 2:13a, 16). 

  • Though governing authorities can be difficult to trust (and even capricious and heavy-handed), the normal practice of godly citizens is forbearance and flexibility as a way to maintain the good reputation of the church (see verses 11-25).  

Gospel Character—we will seek gospel character above personal comfort or conscience (1 Corinthians 9Romans 14).

  • “We put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ…. Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible…. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:12b, 19, 23).

  • “For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. … You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. … So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. … For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:7, 10, 12-13, 17-18). 

  • Let’s not miss any opportunity to grow in the character of Jesus as we work together toward regathering wisely for in-person worship.

Practicalities to Remember

Best Practices--we have adopted best practices that have been vetted and developed by the Humanitarian Disaster Institute in collaboration with the National Association of Evangelicals. 

  • Guidelines we’ve consulted and adapted have been implemented by a wide variety of churches across the nation. See this Guide to Reopening Church Services as an example of what the Taskforce considered and adapted.

  • We’ve adopted guidelines developed specifically by and for people committed to God-honoring worship and neighbor-caring practices.

  • We’ve adapted several creative solutions developed at other churches that have worked effectively and safely.

Diverse Risks--we recognize the members of our congregation deal with widely varied circumstances and responsibilities.

  • Many of our members have multiple factors that make them personally more vulnerable to communicable diseases. 

  • A good number of our members have responsibilities to family members and co-workers that require them to exercise higher caution to minimize risks of exposure.

  • Once we reopen, we need protocols in place that make it easy for people who are not yet regular attenders to know that we’re keeping risk-factors low and for regular members to know how to welcome both new-comers and long-timers in risk-minimizing ways. 

Stewarding Resources--we recognize that our congregation has a smaller pool of volunteers whose time, energies, and gifting must be honored.

  • As we figure out ways to minister effectively in the strange times we’re going through, we want to keep things as simple and essential as possible in our worshipping life to keep pressure on our volunteers low.

  • We desire to have time, vision, and energy to venture together in fresh ways of outreach and discipleship in the coming months and years. As we reopen prudently, we seek to steward our people-resources wisely.