Returning & Renewing
My dear friends and church family,
During the last two months, we have faced many challenges. The decision to close the doors of the church was one of the hardest decisions that any pastor has ever made. If a church kept their doors open, or chose to switch to a livestream format, he faced harsh criticism. Regardless of other churches, and pastors, each pastor will stand before the Lord and give an account of his response during this crisis. During this time we have prayed, fasted, and trusted God as we sought His leadership in our church.
But now, as we face opening, we are facing a greater decision than what we faced when we closed. I covet your prayers, and ask that you understand that as we face these decisions we are trying to balance both the desire to give reverence to our governmental authority, keeping a good testimony in our community, and above all, honoring God’s Word in the command to gather together.
Regardless of whether or not you are happy or frustrated by the direction of the last two and a half months, I will confess, I am thankful for each of you and your patience as we continue to navigate this difficult time. If you feel frustrated that we have not yet returned, please know that it is not out of a lack of desire. We have equipment and supplies ordered to help keep our church just as clean after we enter it, as it is now since we have been sanitizing it daily.
Today, I want to share with you our road map to returning to the church building and with it the renewing that we desire to see in the hearts and lives of people. First, in a very transparent way, there have been several families in our church that have recently been quarantined due to an outbreak of the coronavirus in our community. I ask that you pray for them through this time. We take the health and safety of our congregants very serious, and want take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of others to help stop the further spread of the virus.
As a result of this recent outbreak and the forecasted weather conditions, we will have live-stream only services this Sunday, May 24, 2020. In an effort to keep the production team, and volunteers safe, we will request them to stay at home this Sunday as well to help curtail any further spread. This Sunday’s livestream may be very basic, but we will still be able to grow together in God’s Word. Thank you for your faithfulness to the Lord during this time, and I encourage you to join with us again by livestream thus Sunday.
I also want you to see that although we are taking a step back, we are also making plans to move forward by faith so we can continue to take the gospel into the world. Pending no further outbreaks, and weather conditions, we will have another parking lot service on May 31, 2020. We will also be using this time to train our staff on CDC requirements for sanitizing, and training regarding the temporary procedures that will be implemented. We want you and your family to know that at Hillside we continue to have a desire to be a safe place to worship and discover Christ.
Our plan is to return inside the building for services on June 7th. Prior to in person services, we will share with you the policies for our temporary phase 1 opening to help maintain the safety and sanitation needed. You will receive these by mail, email, and through a follow up video on what to expect when we return.
I know that these are definitely unique times for us. And though we are all weary of the measures that are taken, I am reminded by this renewed outbreak that we must not grow weary and give up hope. We continue to trust the leadership of Christ, and rest in His promises for every need in our life. Until we meet again, may the Lord bless you and keep you in His perfect will.