Important Gathering Update
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
For me, one of the most-humbling and most-needed lessons of 2020 will be about control. In short, there is little that we truly control. This year, all of our lives have been disrupted profoundly by an unseen microorganism. All of our plans have been shaped, and re-shaped, by a virus that didn’t exist a year ago. And we are powerless to change any of that. We have been forced to learn this year that any illusion of control we cling to is just that, an illusion, and that God alone rules and reigns over the days of our lives.
With that in mind, I need to update you on some upcoming changes to our gathering plans as a church.
I have spent time in the last few days talking with members of our church body who are on the “front lines” of our local fight against COVID-19. These people, who love the Lord and our church dearly, have repeated what almost all sectors of the national media have been saying in the last few weeks: this has gotten a lot worse, and the worst is still to come. They have stressed: that’s true in Salisbury, and not just in large urban areas. Our healthcare system, right here in Rowan County, is overtaxed, and that problem will likely increase after people gather with their families over Christmas.
In addition, at Life Church it has become more difficult in recent weeks to gather the necessary number of healthy volunteers to lead our services and to serve in LifeKids. More and more of our volunteers, leaders, and staff have been forced to quarantine because of exposure to the virus. (Thankfully, so far as we know, none of those exposures have occurred due to a church gathering.) That difficulty, combined with the increasing burden on our local healthcare system, has led us to doubt the wisdom and prudence of continuing to meet in person in the weeks following Christmas.
Tuesday night, after discussing these things and praying through them, our elders agreed unanimously to return to virtual-only gatherings for a limited period of time, beginning on December 27. None of us wanted to make that particular decision. All of us agree that gathering in person with God’s people is essential to our spiritual health. Yet all of us also agree that in the weeks ahead, so that we can endure what experts predict will be the most dire season in our battle against COVID-19, it would be wise for us not to meet.
Lord willing, we will gather in person again on January 31, 2021. In addition, we will still gather in person this Sunday, December 20, as well as for our Christmas Eve Eve services on December 23. So long as people continue to practice our “Safe Together” habits - wearing masks, social distancing, and staying home when sick - we believe these gatherings are safe because they occur before the Christmas holidays (when risk of exposure will increase). From 12/27 through 1/24, we will rely on our live stream - available at lifechurchnc.com/live beginning at 9:00 AM every Sunday.
All of these plans, of course, are subject to the Lord’s direction and provision. He alone is in control, of our church, of unseen microorganisms, and of all things. He exercises that control in perfect love, goodness, wisdom, and grace. Thus we can trust him, even in these difficult days.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor of Teaching and Vision