Psalm 121:1-2 says, “I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” I know that my colleagues all around the state are seeking help from the Lord in making decisions that will affect how their congregations “do church” over the next several weeks in light of the coronavirus pandemic. We already know how to be the church, so while some of us are nervous about how this pandemic might affect our family members and livelihood, we can certainly keep checking on each other, praying for each other, and living as the church even though we cannot see each other face to face.
The latest CDC guidelines recommend gatherings of no more than 50 people (or 10) depending on which update you happen to have listened or read. What makes our decisions so difficult is the vagueness in the applications of such recommendations. As a church and as Christians, we do not fear what this virus might do to us personally, but we must remember that we live in, operate in, and are called to love a world that does. While we may have the right (and may even be right) to ignore the CDC warnings, I believe that to do so would seem arrogant to a lost world and inhibit our ability to speak gospel truth into the lives of those who are most afraid and who most need to experience God’s love.
We have tried to limit our programs and use of our campuses during the week in order to preserve the ability to gather together on Sunday mornings. Unfortunately, we believe our best course of action, for the safety of our members and out of love for our city is to move to a completely virtual church gathering at least for the next two Sundays. For now, we will have one Sunday service streamed live at 11:00am on Facebook Live. You can find this live stream at http://www.facebook.com/pbclc. We want to encourage you to use “watch party” invitations on our video feed to invite others to watch with you.
The biggest challenge for our church over the course of the next several weeks will be to stay connected as the church. Social distancing will make live connections in large groups impossible. However, we still want to maintain the integrity of our life group connections. We are working on virtual meetings for our life groups. Please check your email inboxes later in the week for instructions from your life group leaders. You may want to take the initiative to make sure they have your email address.
Thank you for your patience, flexibility, and understanding. None of us have pastored through a pandemic. We were taught in seminary how to respond to a zombie apocalypse, but you can’t just blow up teeny-tiny viruses. Here is a link to the CDC site that will help you stay informed: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
Our prayer right now is that we might help “flatten the curve” in such a way that we can begin gathering together on Easter. If you self-quarantine and need supplies of any kind, please call the church office. We will do what we can to meet the needs of our church family during this very difficult time. In the meantime, stay informed, stay safe, and stay connected.