Dear Church, May 17, 2020
After several weeks of suspending all in-person gatherings and ministries, I am pleased to share with you our strategy for beginning to reopen our campus. This strategy has been developed by your Church Staff and Leadership Team with much prayer, research, and discussion. Our strategy for reopening takes into consideration our local and state government orders, recommendations by the CDC, resources provided by trusted organizations such as the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, and the consultation of other churches in our area. Ultimately our strategy has to be a fit for our church. Therefore it will be driven by the following values:
- Do Everything with Excellence: 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us “…do all for the glory of God.” In all that we do, we want to do it with excellence so that God is glorified. This means we will not settle for being fully prepared in one area but only partially prepared in another. This is a time when “good enough” just isn’t good enough.
- Welcoming Preparedness: When people come onto our campus, they should feel welcomed and at ease because of the measures we’ve taken to prepare for reopening. We will act in wisdom by taking precautions to ensure peoples’ health and safety. We will use discernment to guide us so that we are not too restrictive nor too lenient in our strategy.
- Caring for our Community: We care about our community. The decisions we make impact our church members as well as the neighbors, businesses, and organizations all around us. We will implement a strategy to reopen that helps us maintain and build on our relationships in the community.
First Steps - We will begin reopening our campus by returning to in-person worship gatherings starting Sunday, May 24. We understand that not everyone is going to be ready to come back right away. Some people have health concerns, some may be at risk, and others may just not feel comfortable yet. That’s OK. For those who are not ready to return to in person worship immediately, we are continuing to live stream the worship service.
- We will be providing “praise packs” for your children to help them engage as they sit with you in worship. As soon as we are able to reopen KidZone and provide children’s ministries during the worship hour we will make that announcement.
- The seating layout in the main worship area has been rearranged to provide adequate spacing between individuals, couples, and families.
- An overflow worship area in the Fellowship Hall has been set up to provide additional seating and allow for appropriate spacing.
- Offering boxes will be set up inside the Worship Center and Fellowship Hall entrances to eliminate passing the offering plates.
- Additional hand sanitizer stations and dispensers will be located throughout the campus.
- Ushers will keep doors held open and maintain appropriate spacing as they greet people who are entering and exiting.
- We will limit handouts as much as possible.
- We are increasing our cleaning and disinfecting procedures before and after worship services.
- Many other additional steps and measures are being implemented to provide a safe and welcoming worship experience.
Next steps - Connect Groups, Youth, Children’s ministries, and other ministries will resume at a later date when we determine it is appropriate to relax our physical distancing measures.
- For now, Connect Groups will continue to meet using online platforms.
- Youth and Children’s ministries will also continue to use online platforms and provide other at home resources.
- Other ministries such as WOM, Men’s Prayer Breakfast, and other gatherings will remain postponed for the time being.
In closing, I want to thank each of you for how well you have adjusted and adapted over the last couple of months. I want to thank our Church Staff and ministry leaders for how they have risen to the challenges of doing ministry in a completely new way. They have all excelled week after week and have made me proud to get to serve alongside them.
I want to encourage all of us to keep the same attitude of patience, love, and flexibility that helped us make the transition into this season as we move forward out of it. I’m excited that we’re beginning to get to come back together but please understand that everything isn’t going to be just like it was a couple of months ago. Your patience, your flexibility, your love and grace towards one another will help make this a smooth and welcoming and joyous reunion.
God bless you!