Yesterday was an incredibly exciting day - the church started meeting together in person again. This has been six months in the making and not without its challenges. We have been asked many questions by some of you over the past six months about why we have taken the actions we have as a Leadership Team regarding the guidelines and restrictions on our church meetings. So that we can all be on the same page, here is a more detailed explanation of a few guiding principles that have influenced our decision-making process.
Principle #1. Seek out advice. Who would have believed we would have faced the challenges of 2020? How could we have been prepared? The world, as we know, has changed, and we now have a new normal. As we have all learned to deal with the COVID life, we are pressed to understand how to adapt. This reminds me of a time early in my career as a chemical engineer when I dealt with industrial chemicals daily. I was not afraid of them because I consulted the guidance provided by experts on how to handle them, what they were comparable with, and what protective equipment to wear. I got advice. Proverbs 19:20-21 says ‘Listen to advice and accept instruction that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.’ In order for us to do our best to stay safe and healthy during this pandemic, we must also get good advice, which brings me to the next principle.
Principle #2. Delegate to others who are wise and full of the Spirit. In Acts 6, when the Hellenistic Jews were feeling neglected, they went to the twelve apostles who delegated to others who were "of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom." When we were faced with COVID, the church's Leadership Team formed the COVID Task Force comprised of:
Dr. Michael Angeles, an Internist,
Lisa Moore, RN-Respiratory Therapist,
Veronica Serrano, RN-Pediatrics,
Guillermo Adame, Epidemiologist,
Ken Burford, Attorney,
Floyd Grosset, Evangelist, and
Glenn Hodge, Elder.
We have relied on the sound advice of the godly men and women on this task force who are in the medical and public health fields. Even the task force has consulted with other church groups, as well as other medical and health care professionals, to determine a prudent and safe course of action to recommend to our Leadership Team in order to keep our congregation safe.
Principle #3. Respect other's perspectives. In Rom 14:1-9, we are called to accept others with different views on matters of opinions. During these challenging times, we can be caught up in arguments about the best way to worship, masks or no masks, when we can meet together in person again, and many other issues. These are all matters of opinion that have no clear biblical precedent other than we need to respect the opinions of others and that we should follow the leaders of the church as we are commanded in Hebrews 13:17.
Principle #4. Do not judge your brothers and sisters. In Romans 14:10-18, we further see that we are not to judge one another over matters of opinion. It is easy to have subtle judgments with one another with the words we choose. When we say we are not afraid of meeting together, we imply those that decide not to meet together are doing so because they are fearful.
Let us as one body, remember these four guiding principles as we continue to work through how to worship together and keep everyone safe and healthy.
Your Brother in Christ,
Glenn Hodge for the Leadership Team