As you may have heard, the state of Texas stay-at-home order is scheduled to end today (April 30) and Phase 1 of Open Texas will begin tomorrow (May 1) as several businesses and restaurants across Texas will be allowed to reopen at reduced capacity.
What does this mean for churches?
Under the Open Texas guidance, churches have been given the go-ahead to conduct in-person worship services as long as we adhere to certain recommended health protocols.
When will we start meeting again?
Our pastors, elders, and staff have been considering this question, and we plan to make an official announcement this Sunday (May 3) during our online service. Be sure to watch on our website, Facebook page, or YouTube channel at 10:30 am.
Over the past week, we have:
- participated in a phone call with Governor Abbot and Texas pastors.
- read through Open Texas report, specifically the section pertaining to churches.
- participated in a phone call with LT. Governor Patrick and Texas pastors.
- visited with local pastors about their plans for their congregations.
- spoke with Brookwood in Georgetown about the use of their facility.
- prayed to seek God’s wisdom and direction for our church family.
What are the biblical principles guiding our decision?
We’re not a business, so this is not an economic decision. We’re a church, therefore, this is a spiritual decision.
This is not a matter of right or wrong and we acknowledge there are people on both ends of the spectrum. Either way, we may be criticized for our decision, but that won’t stop us from caring and loving one another. (John 13:34; Romans 12:10)
Here are four biblical principles guiding us forward.
1. We must continue gathering together.
“Not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 (CSB)
There is so much that happens supernaturally when we gather together. We are encouraged, built up, and strengthened. Yes, that can take place online, but the default setting for the body of Christ is to gather together physically.
2. We must not stop living on mission.
“Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” John 20:21 (CSB)
Jesus was sent by God with a mission — to seek and save the lost. He passes His mission on to us. I’m thankful for our ability to accomplish the great commission does not hinge on a location. For 2,000 years the church has overcome many challenges and adversities. I’m God-confident our present challenge will not prevail against the church.I'm God-confident our present challenge will not prevail against the church. Click To Tweet
3. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we have to.
“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up.” 1 Corinthians 10:23 (CSB)
Paul was pretty clear to the early church that “freedom to” did not necessitate “have to.” In our context, here’s what that means; just because we’ve been given the all-clear to worship together, doesn’t mean we have to. I know one pastor who is planning to meet this Sunday, and I know another pastor planning to wait several months. They both love Jesus and they both love people.
4. We will walk in wisdom.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” 2 Timothy 1:7
As we move forward as a church family, we want you to know that wisdom will be our guide. God gives us sound judgment and wisdom. For some, staying home will be the wisest thing to do. We will prayerfully move forward not out of a spirit of fear, but a spirit of wisdom and discernment.
We look forward to worshipping together online and in-person very soon. I want to leave you with the wise words of one of our church members.
“Some people don’t agree with the state opening…. that’s okay. Be kind. Some people are still planning to stay home…. that’s okay. Be kind. Some are sighing with relief to go back to work knowing they may not lose their business or their homes….that’s okay. Be kind. Some are thankful they can finally have a surgery they have put off….that’s okay. Be kind. Some will wear masks for weeks….that’s okay. Be kind. Some people will rush out to get their hair or nails done…. that’s okay. Be kind.”